Love your blog. But, why is Gonzaga overrated? They’re doing quite well against a top-10 schedule while playing without key contributors. They’ve beaten good teams in MSU and Maryland. Their losses were entirely respectable. They lost to UConn by 1 after playing three overtimes the night before, and they lost to Washington by 4 after Derek Raivio got injured halfway through the first half (He played 11 minutes).
If Knight, Heytvelt, and Raivio were all healthy for all of this season, Gonzaga might very well be undefeated and probably ranked #2 behind Duke.
Memphis is a tough game because it’s at their place, and Gonzaga might lose. They might even lose by double digits. But, let’s not forget how understaffed they are because of injuries right now. You are right to point out that Gonzaga plays porous defense. Well, Knight and Heytvelt are two of the top 3 defenders on the team. Neither have played a game at full strength this year. Additionally, Heytvelt would have provided a consistent 4th scoring option, diversifying an offense that seems to be a bit too dependent on Morrison, Batista, and Raivio.
Saying Gonzaga is overrated is one of the great taboos in today’s society. Which is part of the reason why I like to say it. But the other part is that there’s a shred of truth in it. At times Gonzaga has looked like a legit top ten team – taking UConn to the wire is easily the best example. But their last two games have been shaky. They didn’t secure the lead for good against either Virginia or Eastern Washington until the 5 minute mark of the second half. The reality of how good the Zags are probably lies somewhere in between.
And yeah, there have been injuries. But Knight isn’t going to add much offensively. He’ll have to beg to get the ball from Raivio, because once Batista or Morrison gets it, it’s going up, as it should with those guys. Defensively, he’s an improvement, but he was a part of last season’s defensive disaster, so I’m not holding my breath for a big impact from Mr. Knight.
The bottom line is I just think some questions need to be asked about the Zags. It seems like most analysts are so hellbent on promoting them as a Final Four team, because that would be such a great story, that they lose all objectivity. I mean, when it comes to teams from mid-major conferences, the Gonzaga-to-Bucknell publicity ratio should be a little closer than it is. Obviously Morrison has something to do with that, and rightfully so.
In fact, one of the very people that put Gonzaga in the Final Four recently said that Memphis was undeserving of their current ranking. Guess we’ll get a good idea if that’s true or not on Tuesday. I’m prepared to chow down on some crow if necessary. But looking at what each team has done so far, Gonzaga would do well to keep it close.
Line o’ the Night
FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts Fats Cuyler 37 9-12 5-8 0-0 1-2 8 2 2 4 0 23 Result: Win. Middle Tennessee 90, Florida Atlantic 76.
Just for the name.