There was a lot of significant college basketball news pumped out over the last week, mostly of the sensational and scandalous variety. Fortunately, Gonzaga’s name hasn’t appeared in any of those articles, but it did in the following:
- Ken Pomeroy took a closer look (The Athletic subscription required) at the dunk and which teams were best at it, and which were best at defending against it. Though Gonzaga has its fair share of talented dunkers, its defense landed it at #3 on Pomeroy’s list of Top 3 programs that defend the dunk. Pretty interesting stuff.
- The Fieldhouse staff of The Athletic debated whether this Gonzaga team is as good as last year’s edition and whether another Final Four run could be in the cards. If you don’t have a subscription, the general consensus is that while this year’s team is not as good, the Zags are once again a legit Final Four contender and could be dangerous now that they are free from the burden of prior missed opportunities.
- Congrats to Jill Barta on winning the WCC Player of the Year award. Barta joins Courtney Vandersloot and Heather Bowman as the only Zags to take home the award. Teammates Chandler Smith and Zykera Rice were named to the All-WCC Second Team, and head coach Lisa Fortier picked up her third WCC Coach of the Year award.
- Gonzaga found its way back to the top of Mid-Major Madness’ Power Rankings, just as it should be.
- David Kenyon of Bleacher Report isn’t buying Gonzaga as a legitimate title contender.
- Bracketology: Stewart Mandel of The Athletic continues to have Gonzaga on the 5-line in the West region, with a first round matchup against New Mexico State in San Diego and the top two seeds filled by Xavier and Duke respectively. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports also has Gonzaga on the 5-line but in the Midwest region, paired against Loyola-Chicago in the first round and grouped with Xavier and Michigan State as the top two seeds. The SBNation mothership, in its wisdom, has Gonzaga as a 4-seed in the West region, paired with South Dakota State in the first round and grouped with Kansas and Duke as the region’s top two seeds. Finally, the BracketFather himself, Joe Lunardi, still has the Zags on the 5-line in the West region with a first-round matchup against New Mexico State, and grouped with Kansas and UNC. For what its worth, I do believe Gonzaga will end up with a 4-seed if it wins the WCC Tournament with a win over Saint Mary’s.
And in case you missed it somehow, here are the significant articles released from the past week related to the FBI’s investigation of the black market world of college basketball recruiting:
- Yahoo’s story stemming from the expense report of Christian Dawkins that lists several current and former NCAA players as recipients of impermissible benefits.
- ESPN’s story that an FBI wiretap of a conversation between Christian Dawkins and Arizona head coach Sean Miller discussing a $100,000 payment for Deandre Ayton. This story, however, has some holes in it when scrutinized a little closer.