Fall is in the air, holiday advertising is inexplicably already hitting stores and airwaves, and school is in full swing which can only mean that college basketball is back in our lives. That also means the return of the Weekly Zag Briefing. With the Zags ranked as the preseason #1 for the second year in a row, that of course means they are not flying under the proverbial radar. Here’s what has been written about them in recent weeks as an appetizer for next week’s season opener:
- Dana O’Neil of The Athletic is probably the most plugged-in national reporter when it comes to Gonzaga, and published this piece several weeks ago previewing Gonzaga’s preparations for the seasons with some excellent quotes from the coaching staff. She also wrote this interesting feature on Chet Holmgren, highlighting what makes him such a unique and special talent. I don’t think it really needs to be said out loud, but it is definitely going to be a lot of fun to watch Holmgren this season.
- Even after Tommy Lloyd was lured away for the head coaching gig at Arizona, it is no secret that Gonzaga’s staff is stocked with high quality talent that other programs should be eyeing to fill upcoming head coaching vacancies. Brian Michaelson will be an oft-repeated name, but The Athletic’s Brian Hamilton also tabs Roger Powell Jr. as a candidate to watch among the coaching ranks.
- CBS Sports ranked the Top 101 players in men’s college basketball, which features three Zags inside the Top 21, including two in the top 5. You can probably guess who they are...Gonzaga will see the guys ranked at 3, 4, 13, 17, 31, 52, 64, 69, 77, 85, and 96 this season as well. Not a bad year ahead of us, eh?
- The folks at CBS Sports also ranked the top programs in each state, and I’m sure that our friends at UW will love that they are looking up at both Gonzaga and Washington State. This quote in particular is fun: “There’s a gap wider than the Gorge between Gonzaga and everyone else in this state.”
- Matt Norlander does a great ranking of all 358 D1 teams at the start of each season, and if you haven’t read it yet you should definitely check it out. Some notables on his preseason list include Gonzaga at 1, UCLA at 6, Texas at 10, Duke at 15, BYU at 36, Saint Mary’s at 56, and USF at 68. Sports Illustrated also did its own top-to-bottom ranking, which you can check out here.
- Gonzaga comes in at No. 3 in CBS Sports’ ranking of the most challenging non-conference schedules, bested only by Alabama and UNC.
- USA Today asks whether Gonzaga can evade the underachiever label. I don’t exactly agree with the premise of the article, but until Gonzaga notches a national championship or five, we’re always going to see articles like that one.