The No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs just beat the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils in a phenomenally played game by both teams to win the 2018 Maui Invitational.
For the first half of the game, the Gonzaga Bulldogs outplayed the Duke Blue Devils on all sides of the ball. The overall sentiment: Duke is young, and Gonzaga is showing them how its done.
In the second half of the game, fatigue caught up with Gonzaga. Duke’s athleticism went bonkers, and when the game crept closer and closer, the narrative switched right on back. Gonzaga is a good team, but no one can truly compete with Duke. The athleticism of Duke will always win out.
In the end, it was a flurry of missed free throws by Gonzaga, defensive stops by Gonzaga, and RJ Barrett playing hero ball that resulted in the narrowest of narrow two point wins.
Now, I am not going to take the opinions of Duke fans following a Duke loss with a grain of salt. Honestly, I am not going to take the opinions of Duke fans following any game with more than a grain of salt.
And boy, were those Duke fans salty. But that goes with the rest of the world too. When Gonzaga beats anyone, there is a laundry list of excuses why. When Gonzaga loses to anyone, they are the most overrated team in existence. Such is the life of a Gonzaga Bulldog. By now, we are used to it.
The Maui Invitational served as the proper warning because apparently the warning shot of being a preseason No. 3 team didn’t hit its mark. Gonzaga is in the conversation as one of the best teams in the country because they are. Full stop.
The thing that is important to remember here is that unlike many of the other top teams in the country, Gonzaga is missing one of the top players on its team. Let that sink in: Gonzaga beat No. 1 Duke while Killian Tillie sat on the bench with his foot in a boot.
Now, I’m also not going to say that if these two teams meet again in March or April that Gonzaga wins 100 percent of the time. The Duke Blue Devils are damn good. But guess what? As of now, at this current moment in time, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are damn better.
But sure, go on ahead and convince yourself that the Zags are overrated. The Gonzaga Bulldogs, the national title runner ups in 2017, a team that has been to four-straight Sweet 16s, a team that just defeated the No. 1 team in the country, are overrated. See how well that “logic” serves you for the rest of the season.