Before the Gonzaga-Washington State game, The Kennel Report was joined by Nuss, who writes for the Washington State blog, CougCenter. After the respective sides have settled down, Nuss was kind enough to join us and write a piece from the viewpoint of a Cougar fan. With that being said, we'll let Nuss have the floor:
If there was any doubt as to which college basketball team is the best in the state of Washington this year -- and I'm not sure there actually was any doubt, but let's assume there was at least a sliver -- it's pretty much been cleared up at this point, hasn't it?
I can count on one hand in the last five or so years the number of times the Cougars have been dismantled like that, and to have it happen so quickly and over such a short amount of time was stunning, to say the least. As you all know, I'm the guy who said there was no possible way the Zags get to 70 because that would require an offensive efficiency around 115, and that was just absurd to even consider against a Cougar defense that held Baylor to 101 and Pitt to 97.7. I just didn't think Gonzaga was any more special than either of those two teams.
But then it happened. And as I watched the game unfold, I was grasping for reasons as to how this could possibly be happening. I kept thinking, "C'mon! We're absolutely giving this game away!" I kept thinking, "Yeah, Gonzaga started making their shots, but man, we gift-wrapped it!"
Then, I stewed. And I stewed some more. And the more I thought about it, the more I grew to appreciate what truly was a stunningly efficient performance by Gonzaga in that second half. I kept thinking it had everything to do with us -- a typical fan-centric point of view -- but I had to start recognizing the role that Gonzaga played, which was a lot bigger than I was giving the Bulldogs credit for.
It wasn't so much generating the turnovers, per se, because I do think that many of them were bonehead plays that were gift-wrapped. I mean, that 3/4-court trap was halfhearted at best -- it's not like you guys are
Do you realize what kind of pressure that puts on a team, especially one as deliberate as the Cougars? A double digit deficit in the second half is WSU's worst nightmare, especially against a team that you know is going to make some shots, no matter what kind of defense you play. Well, the pressure got to the Cougs, and for some inexplicable reason, they thought the best course of action was to play Gonzaga's style. Fourteen minutes and 36 points into the second half, they realized their mistake -- far too late, of course.
And that's where you, Gonzaga fan, ought to be most excited. You imposed your uptempo will on WSU. I hope you realize just how significant that is, because I've only seen it one other time -- at the end of last year's NCAA Tournament in the Sweet Sixteen loss to ... North Carolina. It didn't surprise me one bit that Matt Bouldin said the Zags had watched that game, because although it took Gonzaga longer than it took
Are you as good as
After what I saw last night, I have a hard time believing that will happen. Despite what I said on my site yesterday about some of your fans – and I know that’s not all of you – I have never wavered in my belief that Gonzaga is a damn good team. Certainly, nothing that happened last night changed my mind. If anything, I’m more convinced than ever that this team is for real.
For more Zags love from a Cougar, check out this post on CougCenter before the game began last night..