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Weekly Zag Briefing

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NCAA Basketball: San Francisco at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The COVID-induced scheduling gymnastics struck again this week proving once again that the teams that are the most adaptable will be the ones that will get the maximum out of this season.

  • As most of you are already aware, Gonzaga agreed to play BYU on short notice this Thursday after COVID-pauses threw the Cougars schedule into disarray (their last game was on December 23). BYU head coach Mark Pope commented on how the game together, giving credit to Mark Few and the GU program for making it happen. I loved this quote in particular:

“When everything else fails, the one coach and program in America that you know is going to be like, ‘Bring it, man, we’re not scared,’ is the Zags,” Pope said on his coach’s show on KSL NewsRadio (Tuesday, 9 p.m.). “I couldn’t love them more right now just for the fact that they’re like, ‘Let’s play. Come on, bring it up, lace it up, and let’s go.’ We desperately want to play and they desperately want to play.”

  • ESPN’s John Gasaway takes a stab at predicting when the remaining 13 undefeated teams in college basketball will take their first loss. He has Baylor losing to Texas on February 2, while the Zags won’t take a loss before the NCAA Tournament, “if ever.” In an alternate universe where there are no conference scheduling restraints, it would be fun to see the Zags add each of these teams to their schedule and pick them off one-by-one in a Hunger Games style battle for supremacy. One can dream, right?
  • The undefeated regular season talk surrounding Gonzaga started early and will only get louder now that we’re in conference play. Eamonn Brennan discusses GU’s prospects and more in his latest Power Rankings for The Athletic.
  • Seth Davis posted his annual Buy/Sell/Hold hoops report, and rates Gonzaga as a “buy” with only injuries and bad luck in a position to doom the Zags.
  • Brian Hamilton lays out a path for Gonzaga and Baylor to reschedule their Top-2 tilt in his latest Shot Takers column with Dana O’Neil.
  • Myron Medcalf shouts out Corey Kispert in his list of biggest surprises (and disappointments—hello Kentucky) this season. The State of Minnesota, with a nod to Jalen Suggs and Chet Holmgren, also gets some shine.
  • Gonzaga, of course, stays at the top of Jeff Borzello’s Power Rankings. Borzello takes the time to include the fact that Gonzaga is the first time since the 93-94 season (Arkansas) to score 85 points in each of its first 10 games. That Arkansas team went on to win the national championship. We like that comparison.
  • Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon lists his ten teams best built to dominate the NCAA Tournament, and why, with Gonzaga’s offense unsurprisingly identified as the differentiator.
  • Corey Kispert joined Jon Rothstein on his YouTube show to talk about the season and navigating the obstacles of playing during a pandemic.
  • Joel Ayayi spent some time talking to Dan Dickau about the challenges of leaving France for Spokane at 17, how special it would be to win a national championship for Gonzaga, and many other topics. Check out the video of their conversation here.