But are they for real?” that’s usually the question that we get when the #3 ranked team in the nation, the Gonzaga bulldogs, who are currently 21-0, are brought up. Yeah, yeah, yeah they aren’t in the best of conferences, the WCC (West Coast Conference) whose top 3 teams after the Bulldogs are: Saint Mary’s (8-1; 18-2), BYU (6-3; 15-7), and Santa Clara (6-3; 12-10). Not exactly the perennial powerhouse conference, however, we can’t let that hold too much weight.
Let’s look at their stats, starting with key wins so far this season. Back on November 25th, Josh Perkins’s 18 points helped lead the Gonzaga Bulldogs pass Florida 77-72. Then, two days later, Gonzaga beat (then #21 ranked) Iowa State 73-71 to win the AdvoCare Invitational Tournament. At the time, Gonzaga was #11, and the win brought their record to 6-0. The Bulldogs wouldn’t have another truly impressive win until they, then ranked #8, beat (then #16) Arizona by a score of 69-62 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Far from a home game for the Zags.
What do all these numbers mean? What is the point here?
Yes, they are in a bad conference; and yes their non conference schedule hasn’t been the best, but that doesn’t mean we can just ignore the fact that they are an undefeated squad. 21-0? In my opinion, an undefeated record nearing February is an accomplishment in any league. The competition they play may not say much, but in a world of NCAA basketball full of upsets, chokes, and hot teams going cold in a heartbeat, we can’t count on their consistency. Ask any College Basketball analyst around the country if that’s an accomplishment, and I guarantee you that they say agree with me, regardless of what conference the team is in. The point is, I don’t want people to be shocked if these guys end up in the Final Four. No they wont be a “Cinderella,” and no it wont be “Luck,” it will be from pure skill and raw talent that they have on the court. A 7’1″ 300 lbs. Senior Center Przemek Karnowski (Talk about an awesome name) down low in the paint averaging 12.3 points per game and almost 6 rebounds per game and just pretty much scaring the hell out of anyone that comes in the paint at that height, with a huge wingspan . That’s not to mention the guard play. Junior guard Nigel William-Goss on the top of the key averaging 15.0 points per game has been a consistent performer for them. With the big men in the paint opening up the court for them, the guards have room to work. That in itself can prove to be a destructive force.
Come tourney time, I beg of you, don’t be shocked at this team. They will be a high seed and they will go deep in the tourney. Even if they might be playing “High School type competition right now”, as fellow SportsGuy writer Devon said to me. All I can say is… can’t March come any faster?!
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