Rushed Reaction: #7 Gonzaga 77, #10 West Virginia 54Posted by JPriz on March 15th, 2012
Three Key Takeaways
- Crowds only matter when you give them something to cheer about. West Virginia had the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Selection Committee’s gift. They were the away team, but had to travel 90 minutes up the highway to Pittsburgh to take on Gonzaga, the “home” team that had to fly over 2,000 miles across the country to be here. West Virginia was flat from the start, and beyond the yellow and blue clothing, they didn’t have anything to cheer about. West Virginia was behind by 10 points right away, and they never got closer. I am actually surprised that they didn’t leave at halftime.
- Good teams make shots. Defense might win championships, but if your team can’t put any points on the board, it is awfully hard to win as well. West Virginia shot way under 30% in the first half, and only barely above 30% for the game. Gonzaga, on the other hand, came to play, and shot well over 60% during the first half and over 50% for the game. They flat out made shots. They 28-50 from the field, 9-17 from 3 point, and 12-16 from the line. They shot so well that even when it seemed like West Virginia might chip away, they had no shot.
- Sometimes long distance can work. Much has been made of Gonzaga’s geographical draw, and how putting them in West Virginia’s backyard was a poor decision. It looks like Gonzaga thrives on these types of situations because they came into Pittsburgh with guns blazed, and immediately got up by 10, and never looked back. Gonzaga has overcome playing in a mid major conference, and now it looks like they have proven that wherever you choose to send them, they will play like it’s a home game.
Star of the Game. Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga. Even though Gonzaga had an extremely balanced offensive attack, Kevin was lights out right away, shooting 100% at one point deep into the 1st half, and ended shooting 5-7 from the field and 2-4 from 3 point. Not only did he take care of his own offense, he dished out 5 assists to 1 turnover, and grabbed 2 steals as well.
Sights & Sounds. You don’t think of an away team filling up the gym with fans, but due to the unusual match up of West Virginia being the away team by rank, but home team by geography, so I some plenty of yellow and blue. Unfortunately the poor play of West Virginia didn’t let the “home fans” show their school spirit.
What’s Next? #7 Gonzaga will advance to take on the winner of #2 Ohio State/#15 Loyola. Mark Few will likely be watching plenty of film on Ohio State in anticipation of that matchup. Gonzaga’s starting five matches up fairly well with Ohio State, and could even present itself with some match up advantages due to size in the post. The Buckeyes depth, speed, and athleticism will be cause for concern though. It should be a fun game to watch between two of the more successful programs of the past decade.