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Weekly Zag Briefing

A deep freeze has settled over large swathes of the country. Take your mind off it by reading about your beloved Zags.

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NCAA Basketball: Pacific at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t have much to add here other than request that someone deliver me from the deep freeze and sub-zero temps that have plagued Chicago over the last!

  • Gonzaga’s recruits in the 2018 and 2019 classes are having strong starts to their respective seasons.
  • It can be easy to forget just how meager Gonzaga’s basketball operations used to be back in the day. Whitney Ogden of The Spokesman-Review spoke with several basketball alumni spanning several generations to get their take on the comparisons from the pre-tournament streak era to now.
  • If you enjoy reading about sports writers/analysts eating crow about their predictions, you’ll enjoy The Athletic’s (subscription required) comprehensive collection of Freezing Cold Takes from 2017 which includes the following hilariously wrong takes about Gonzaga:

When Gonzaga suffered its first loss of the season to BYU, Brett Friedlander gleefully noted that the “fraud that is Gonzaga has been exposed.” He also asked “who is the fourth No. 1 seed [in the NCAA Tournament] now?” Gonzaga became that fourth No. 1 seed and made it all the way to the championship game. In March, Friedlander blocked at least one Twitter account for posting his old tweet. Also, after that loss to BYU, ESPN senior writer Mike Wise boldly proclaimed that if Gonzaga was a No. 1 seed, it would be “the first team to go down to a 16 seed.” The Zags beat 16th-seeded South Dakota State in the first round.

Seattle radio personality Dave Mahler boldly predicted that “Gonzaga is going down” in its game at Washington. He added, “Don’t even bother getting on the plane from Spokane. There will be blood.” The Zags destroyed UW, 97-70.

  • Seth Davis rates Gonzaga as a “Buy” in his annual “Buy, Sell, Hold” column. Here’s what he had to say about the Zags:

It’s that time of year again. The Zags acquitted themselves pretty well during yet another challenging non-conference schedule. The stock took a hard hit with a loss at San Diego State, and the double-overtime loss to Florida looks worse now than it did at the time. Now, however, Gonzaga is heading into yet another weak West Coast Conference slate, which means lots of wins and rising poll numbers by virtue of teams losing who are ranked ahead. By the time the NCAA Tournament starts, Gonzaga could be flirting with the top 10 in the AP poll. So if you want to make an easy profit, buy this stock now and sell it before the tourney begins.

And so begins Gonzaga's annual run through the West Coast Conference. The Bulldogs opened up conference play with a 33-point win over Pacific and a 49-point win over Santa Clara. They likely won't be tested until Saint Mary's comes to town on Jan. 18 -- although the road trip to San Francisco on the 13th won't be a cakewalk.