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Yes, EWU can win … and it would mean a lot for the Eagles


In my never-ending attempt to be your guide through the Inland Northwest sports scene – you know, the one where November is the best month, though you can disagree about that here – I received a question about the GU/EWU game from Greg on the post below.

Greg wrote: What I am really interested in is whether EWU can beat Gonzaga this year, and what’s the fallout for both teams if that happens?

Greg, the simply answer to your first question is yes and it wouldn’t be a huge upset. An upset, sure, but not a huge upset. The Eagles are a veteran group - if you can call any team veteran whose best player is a sophomore - that strengthened itself at a key position – point guard - with two top-notch recruits. Plus, you never know how many points Rodney Stuckey will put up, especially now he has the opportunity to work without the ball more often. He’s capable of scoring 40 at any time – he’s that good.

On the other side, the Zags are a team in search of its identity. As you know, last year’s team revolved so heavily around two guys – especially around one – that the other players were like Jupiter’s satellites. Now those moons are GU’s entire universe, and how they will work together is still up in the air … that just might have been the most-convoluted analogy written this side of a Simpson’s episode.

But the point is: This game comes early for GU in what is obviously a rebuilding season, so EWU has its best shot of winning in recent memory.

So what would an Eastern win mean? It would be the perfect springboard for the Eagles, giving them confidence to attack the rest of their schedule. I wouldn’t surprised if they win the Big Sky no matter what happens Friday, but if they do win at GU, they would have to move into the Big Sky favorite’s role – barring injuries of course.

For GU, a loss would take one weight off, the pressure of the McCarthey Athletic Center unbeaten record. But it would add a lot more, most notably the questions that would invariably come about this team’s future. Let’s be honest, GU fans have been spoiled in recent years.

Even if this group were to lose to EWU, it still has a shot at being damn good, maybe not 28-win good, but NCAA second-round good. And that should be enough for the McCarthey faithful.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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