Gonzaga senior guard Matt Bouldin can’t say for certain he’ll play in Saturday’s college basketball showdown with No. 7 Duke at Madison Square Garden, but he’s optimistic he’ll be back in the lineup.
Bouldin sat out the Battle in Seattle on Saturday because he was still feeling the effects of a head-to-head collision with Augustana’s Troy Rorer three days before. With this being finals week, the 15th-ranked Zags have had a lighter practice schedule and Bouldin has been able to participate. He was expected to go through a full practice Wednesday.
“I feel a lot better,” Bouldin said prior to practice. “It really gets down to as long as I’m feeling better, I’m sure I’ll be able to go.”
Bouldin was averaging more than 18 points per game, but that figure dropped to 16.8 points when he was limited to 11 minutes against Augustana.
“He wasn’t showing the symptoms Saturday, but he just felt a little off,” head coach Mark Few said. “He wasn’t nauseous or dealing with the pronounced headache.”
The last time Gonzaga and Duke collided in Madison Square Garden, Duke was ranked No. 6 and Gonzaga was No. 22. The Blue Devils won that defensive-minded contest 61-54 in December 2006.
“I watched the film last night from the last time we played them and they’re definitely a better team now,” said Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, who has the scout for Saturday’s game. “I like them a lot.”
In the 2006 meeting, Duke’s Greg Paulus scored 20 points and freshman guard Jon Scheyer limited GU’s Derek Raivio to four points, 16 less than his average. Jeremy Pargo scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half.
Scheyer, now a senior, leads Division 1 in assist-to-turnover ratio. He was at an astounding 8.4 prior to last night’s easy win over Gardner-Webb, but he dropped to 6.4 after a 36-point, nine-assist, three-turnover performance.
“The beauty about that is everybody says he’s not a real point guard, you need to pressure him,” Lloyd said. “He’s a senior, who cares what position he plays. His assist-to-turnover ratio is phenomenal. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and he’s a savvy veteran. You can’t speed him up.
“It starts with their guards. (Six-foot-8 Kyle) Singler and Scheyer, they’re both All-Americans, (Nolan) Smith and (Andre) Dawkins … those four guys are a handful, probably as good as anyone in the country.”
The Bulldogs recently made a technological upgrade to their locker room. It’s called a SMART Board, an interactive 84-inch whiteboard the team uses for posting scouting reports, pregame and halftime X-and-O sessions, and viewing video of upcoming opponents. Think John Madden’s Telestrator with a much wider range of applications.
“Tommy (Lloyd) got it and played around with it, but he didn’t bother to learn how to use it and he told me it was my responsibility,” joked administrative assistant Chris “Bubba” Filios, who coordinates GU’s video scouting. “I haven’t had a lot of time to play around with it. Basically, we got it and then we went to Maui and then to Seattle so it’s been kind of crazy. It’s pretty neat and we’ve been able to do some cool stuff with it.”
Filios said the picture quality is outstanding, especially compared to the old system. Because the projector is mounted at the top and not somewhere in front of the screen there are no shadows when coaches are at the board.
“It’s neat to be able to stop the video and then draw something (by fingertip or with a no-ink pen) on the board,” said Filios, indicating a player cutting, etc. “It saves me about 15 minutes a day. All you need is a computer and the quality is big time.”