Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Zags Down

I’m still in shock that Gonzaga lost to Portland St. last night. My initial reaction is that this is the kind of loss that could cost Gonzaga 3-4 seed lines on selection Sunday. This is particularly devastating for Gonzaga because the Zags are not going to be able to make a standard argument for a 1 or a 2 seed. They’ll have a nice record against the RPI top 50 and 100, but they won’t have nearly as many quality wins as the runner-up in the Pac10 or Big 12.

But Gonzaga was still going to have a shot at a top seed because a number of smart college basketball people would have made the argument that Gonzaga has too much talent to be seeded lower. And people who saw Gonzaga in person against UConn or in the Old Spice Classic would have had plenty of ammunition to argue that Gonzaga’s top 6 players are as good as any team in the country, with the exception of UNC. But a loss like this just cripples those “other” arguments. Would the third place team from the Big 12 or Pac 10 lose at home to Portland St? Certainly not. Washington has already beaten them, and Baylor probably will next week. And that’s why I think this loss pushes Gonzaga down 3-4 seed lines at the end of the year. Make no mistake about it, this was an absolutely devastating loss.

The only good news for Gonzaga is that Portland St. is actually a pretty good team. Last year Portland St. won the Big Sky conference regular season title by 3 games and won the conference tournament. And they’ll probably be the favorite to win the conference again this year. So maybe if Portland St. can keep their RPI in the top 100, this loss will be “explainable” for Gonzaga. But you never want a loss like this near the end of the non-conference schedule.

Elsewhere on Tuesday

Wisconsin scored 5 points in the final 6:45 of the game against Texas. I said it before, but it is still true. Who is going to be the star for Wisconsin when they need a bucket?

Sorry no comments on the Bragging Rights game between Illinois and Missouri. I have it on tape. I was watching Georgetown double up Florida International 76-38 at the Verizon Center. The Hoyas have clearly figured out how to dominate smaller schools with absolutely relentless eFG% defense, but now comes the hard part. Here is the upcoming schedule along with the Pomeroy ratings of the teams. Georgetown is at #6 Connecticut, vs #3 Pittsburgh, at #23 Notre Dame, vs #89 Providence, vs #35 Syracuse, at #4 Duke, and vs #7 West Virginia. Oh, and then they go on a three game road swing. Good times.

Hats off to Clint Sargent of South Dakota St. for leading the victory over Iowa St. The sophomore guard is averaging 14.6 PPG with an ORtg of 119.5.