NCAA Preview: Gonzaga BulldogsPosted by rtmsf on March 16th, 2009
Gonzaga (# 4 seed, South, Portland pod)
vs. Akron (#13)
March 19th, 7:25 P.M.
Vegas Line: Gonzaga -13
Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv). If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.
Location: Spokane, Washington
Conference: WCC, won the conference tournament
Coach: Mark Few, 262-65 at Gonzaga
08-09 Record: 26-5, 14-0
Last 12 Games: 11-1, 9-game winning streak
Best Win: 83-74 v. Tennessee, November 30th
Worst Loss: 70-77 v. Portland State, December 23rd
Off. Efficiency Rating: 117.9/ 5th overall
Def. Efficiency Rating: 88.4/ 12th overall
Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): Jeremy Pargo- 9.8 points/game, 5.1 assists/game, 2/1 assist/turnover, 3.5 rebounds/game; Josh Heytvelt- 14.9 points/game, 6.7 rebounds/game, 0.9 blocks/game, 54.5 FG%
Unsung Hero: Steven Gray- 9.3 points/game, 3.1 rebounds/game, 2 assists/game, 36.4 3PT%
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Austin Daye/ projected 50th overall….Josh Heytvelt/ projected 59th overall
Key Injuries: None
Depth: 27.3%/ 255th overall
Achilles Heel: At the beginning of the season, this looked like the best team the Gonzaga Bulldogs have ever fielded in terms of sheer talent on the roster. But the ‘Zags don’t really have a go-to scorer. Heytvelt is their leading scorer, but in a tight game late it is hard to see Mark Few ordering the ball to be fed to Heytvelt and let him take over. The team lacks a true star player that they can go to in crunch time.
Will Make a Deep Run if… Maybe the NCAA tournament will inspire Austin Daye to play up to his potential. The ‘Zags don’t desperately need Daye to be awesome to have success, but if he begins to play the way he is capable of, the ‘Zags will be a very tough team to stop. They have all the important pieces of a Final Four team, but they need a true scorer, and Daye has the potential to do it.
Will Make an Early Exit if… When the ‘Zags have struggled this season, it has been against supremely athletic teams. For example, Mark Few’s team looked overmatched when they got blown out by Memphis at home. If they run into a team like Siena in the first or second round, they could have a lot of trouble trying to guard the penetration of Siena’s athletic wing players.
Last Year Invited: 2008, lost in the first round to Davidson
Streak: 10 consecutive seasons
Best NCAA Finish: They made it to the Elite Eight in 1999 before losing to Connecticut
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): +0.16 wins per appearance
Six Degrees to Detroit: none
Distance to First Round Site: 352 miles away from Portland, Oregon
School’s Claim to Fame: Basketball?
School Wishes It Could Forget: Nothing is more embarrassing for a coach to learn that your star center would rather be at a Phish concert that playing basketball. But when Josh Heytvelt was suspended last year for marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms, that’s what Mark Few learned. The pot is a normal occurrence in the world of college sports, but the mushrooms? Was Heytvelt wearing a tie-dye Grateful Dead t-shirt as well?
Prediction: The ‘Zags looked absolutely dominant as they rolled through the West Coast Tournament, and Illinois is one of the worst five-seeds in the tournament. But if the ‘Zags make it to the Sweet 16, they will have to get through North Carolina, and they just don’t have the talent to match the ‘Heels.
Written by… Mike Lemaire