Media day this afternoon at Gonzaga, so I'll post an unedited notebook that will run in Tuesday's S-R. I'm catching a flight tomorrow for Knoxville, but I'll try to post my GU-Tennessee advance sometime mid-morning.
Meanwhile, here's the latest Bracketology (GU is seeded No. 7).
By Jim Meehan
Rebounding, defense, offense, mentality, approach, shooting, confidence, effort, slow starts, shaky finishes, playing together, being the aggressor and the schedule.
And A.J. Price.
Ask Gonzaga players or head coach Mark Few for some of the reasons why the Bulldogs have dropped three straight men’s basketball games and four of the last five, and the responses are widespread.
There’s likely some truth in everyone’s opinion as Gonzaga (8-4) tries to figure out how it has gone from being No. 4 on Dec. 8th to unranked in the polls released Monday.
“We played very good basketball against
Few mentioned several other factors.
“If you don’t play really good basketball when you play a schedule like this, you’re going to get beat,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on going undefeated this year, not with a schedule like this. With this particular group, as I’ve said all along, when we’re playing well together and playing hard and we’re opportunistic, we can play with anybody in the country, but we’re not just a juggernaut.
“If you go back and look over my comments, this is not the most talented team in Gonzaga history. Everybody wanted to paint that picture, but I’ve been pretty consistent in that we need to really play together, offensively and defensively, and make shots in order for us to be successful.”
Senior wing Micah Downs said rebounding and transition defense have been focal points in practice.
“In the preseason and especially down at the Old Spice (Classic) at the start of games we were coming out and throwing the first punches,”
“The last three games were tough,” senior guard Jeremy Pargo said. “We didn’t have a great approach at the beginning of games. We pretty much lost the first eight minutes of every game.”
Several players said coaches are simplifying things, but Few preferred to call it a time “where we’re identifying roles better.
“We’ve had a tendency now and I don’t think it’s selfish, that it’s, ‘I have to make something happen to help the team.’ We’re better off when we’re getting each other shots, moving the ball and doing something to get somebody else a shot instead of taking it on ourselves.”
“We went to a movie (Valkyrie) last night and we went laser-tagging a few nights before that,”
“We’re fine,” Pargo added. “It’s coming back, slowly but surely, and once we get it all back together we’ll be fine. It’s still early in the year and we still have a lot of opportunities to become a great team and do the things we’ve always wanted to do as a team.”
Downs said the sprained left ankle he suffered against
Reserve center Rob Sacre is still in a holding pattern, waiting to see if rest will be enough to heal his foot. “The screw that was put in his foot (in early October) is bent because of the impact when he hurt it (Dec. 5),” Few said.
Sacre, whose foot is in walking boot, has missed GU’s last five games.