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Weekly Zag Briefing

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

It has not been the best of weeks in the WCC from a COVID standpoint as a swathe of games are once again lost to the virus. So it goes, however, and the season must continue on. Based on where some on the stories from this week’s briefing were sourced, I think it’s safe to say we have arrived at the point in the season where national outlets have to remind their readers that Gonzaga is good and its top ranking is deserved.

  • It’s not too often that Gonzaga gets an article at FiveThirtyEight, where Josh Planos writes about how Gonzaga’s pace-setting dominance is supported by its offensive tempo and ability to generate turnovers.
  • In comments to The Washington Post, Mark Few discusses how fun this squad is to coach, tries to convince us that there is more than one other good team out there, and opines on how the 2016-17 Final Four team took Gonzaga’s recruiting to another level. A good nugget from the story: Larry Suggs (Jalen’s father), fell in love with Gonzaga’s offense after recording their games since they were on late at night and concluded it was the right system for his son. I think he was right. Few also confirms he’s not thinking about preserving an undefeated season as he continues to explore opportunities to add another non-conference game or two in the schedule, preferably to a ranked team, so that the Zags are best prepared to face different types of challenges during the NCAA Tournament.
  • Corey Kispert tells Forbes that the team doesn’t feel any extra pressure to remain undefeated, and cites the general and ever-present pressure of playing for Gonzaga and being better than the teams that came before them. That’s a good mentality to have.
  • Seth Davis has Gonzaga at the top of his 5 best teams in college basketball, but curiously omits Mark Few in his rankings of Top 5 coaches this season. That’s a choice, I guess....
  • Dana O’Neil and Brian Hamilton break down the chances of each of the remaining undefeated teams to preserve their perfect record. Both expect Baylor to slip up somewhere in Big 12 play, but thought there was a good chance we see Gonzaga and Siena enter the NCAA Tournament blemish free. One day after the article came out, however, Siena lost to Saint Peter’s so it might just be the Zags who hold on.
  • Eamonn Brennan uses his power rankings this week to discuss Anton Watson and his box score line from the Saint Mary’s game—where Watson played 22 minutes without logging a single point or shot attempt—to make a roundabout point about how good Gonzaga is this season.
  • In his power rankings, Jeff Borzello discusses Corey Kispert’s emergence as a potential top 10 pick in the NBA Draft as a development few saw coming.
  • Related to the point above, a recent NBA mock draft at Sports Illustrated had Suggs, Kispert, and Joel Ayayi all projected to be picked in the first round. Kispert and Suggs both seem to be locks to be taking in the first, but this is the first mock draft I’ve seen this season with all three projected to be first rounders.
  • Mark Few hopped on Andy Katz’s podcast with Baylor head coach Scott Drew which you can listen to here (beginning around the 5 minute mark).