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10 Observations from Gonzaga’s win over Florida State

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3 wins to go.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Gonzaga vs Florida State Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga officially has the odd year thing down with trips to the Elite 8 in 2015, 2017, and now 2019. Not bad for a school that would finish 9th in the ACC, eh?

  1. Hats off to Gonzaga for the strong collective effort on the boards. The Zags beat Florida State’s length by winning the leverage battle and rebounding as a group. In doing so, they frequently limited the Noles to one-and-done possessions at the offensive end which allowed them to stay a step ahead during their own offensive droughts.
  2. It’s unbelievable that Josh Perkins is still underappreciated. Florida State’s ball screen defense made it quite difficult for the Zags to run their usual sets. A game like that is a mental grind for the point guard (so I’ll forgive the occasional loose handles tonight), and it takes a lot of maturity and patience to facilitate a win against a defensive team like FSU.
  3. The Zags had the lowest rated defense left in the West region entering Thursday night’s action, but that didn’t step them from holding FSU to its lowest points per possession mark of the season. When they weren’t turning the ball over, the Noles were relegated to a lot of contested shots.
  4. Despite the good defense, it was quite annoying to see the Zags allow FSU to open each half with a backdoor lob to Koumadje. You could see those coming yet did nothing to stop them.
  5. It’s really remarkable how disciplined Gonzaga’s forwards are at staying vertical when contesting shots around the paint. That’s great teaching married with quality players.
  6. The Zags didn’t back down against Florida State’s immense size in the paint, and by consistently getting into their opponent’s chest when driving were able to create enough rim to finish around the rim or draw a foul. I think Gonzaga’s level of physicality surprised FSU a bit.
  7. Killian Tillie’s offensive numbers won’t wow you when you read the box score, but he still had an impactful night. It makes you wonder what could have been if he had been healthy last year.
  8. After a really rough outing against Baylor, hats off to Rui for playing much tougher in the paint and consistently finishing through contact. Great players know how to respond after a bad outing, so his workmanlike performance should not go unnoticed.
  9. Though he hit some clutch shots, I’m still waiting on a true second half explosion from Snacks. The Elite 8 would be a great time for one.
  10. Gonzaga is ELITE. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.