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Weekly Zag Briefing

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NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Arizona Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Carolina Week in Spokane, as the unranked Tar Heels look for a resume building win against the #2 Gonzaga Bulldogs. Be honest, dear reader, did you ever think you would read that sentence in your lifetime? I’m guessing not.

  • Our counterparts over at Tar Heel Blog identified three keys to the Gonzaga game if you’re interested in reading what will be the priority areas for UNC.
  • Matt Norlander’s Court Report reveals that even Mark Few is surprised by how this team has performed to date in light of the deficiencies he observed during the offseason. It’s wild to think about how much more room for growth Few believes is in this squad.
  • In an illuminating story over at The Spokesman-Review, you can read about the origin of this home-and-home series with UNC can be traced back to a social event just before the start of the PK80 tournament back in 2017. Good thing Mark Few was in attendance and that both coaches understand the value of this type of game for the health of college basketball!
  • While Few and Roy seem to understand the importance of these types of games for the greater good of college basketball, Brendan Marks cautions that these arrangements are a dying breed.
  • In his Hoop Thoughts column for The Athletic, Seth Davis touches on Killian Tillie’s ankle injury suffered in the Arizona game. Few told Davis that he considered sending Tillie back in to the game and he didn’t expect it to be a long term problem, which is consistent with Tillie’s comments this week and his expectations for playing against UNC. What stands out most in this nugget, however, is Few stating that Tillie didn’t feel great going into the Arizona game and commenting on the emphasis of getting Tillie to jump off both legs in workouts as he clearly is still favoring the knee that required surgery prior to the season. It has only been about 10 weeks since his surgery, so not surprising that he’s still not all the way back, but other lower body injuries are much more likely to happen in light of Tillie’s current imbalance. Here’s hoping the ankle sprain is the only one he’ll have to deal with this season.
  • Jackson Frank dives deep into the scene on the ground and in the Gonzaga locker room as the Zags prepare for the most anticipated matchup in The Kennel, unranked UNC or not.
  • John Gasaway posted his “piping-hot take” that Gonzaga is the best in the West in a column for ESPN. John, buddy, your take has been a fact for several years now.
  • Eamonn Brennan considers an alternate reality where several undrafted underclassmen—including Zach Norvell—from last year’s class had stayed with their college programs.