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Blanchette: It only makes sense to get hysterical with Zags

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 18, 2017, 10:08 p.m.

The Gonzaga bench, including Rui Hachimura, Bryan Alberts and Zach Collins celebrates a dunk by Johnathan Williams. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The Gonzaga bench, including Rui Hachimura, Bryan Alberts and Zach Collins celebrates a dunk by Johnathan Williams. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Hadn’t seen those best of pals and Zags fans, Hysteria and Horse Sense, for a few years. But there they were celebrating Gonzaga’s romp last weekend over Saint Mary’s on adjacent barstools:

Hysteria: “And I say they go undefeated all the way!”

Horse Sense: “To Phoenix? The Final Four?”

Hysteria: “I mean all the way!”

Horse Sense: “So you’re calling your shot. And theirs.”

Hysteria: “Damn right. This is the year!”

Horse Sense: “You’ve had a spiritual conversion?”

Hysteria: “Like Ignatius getting hit by a cannonball.”

Horse Sense: “And this is based solely on the fact that Gonzaga is the last unbeaten major college men’s basketball team in America?”

Hysteria: “What am I supposed to base it on? The volume of Greg Heister’s fan mail?”

Horse Sense: “No, but …”

Hysteria: “Let me put it in a way you can understand: It’s not like Villanova or Kansas or any other team can run the table this season. The Zags are the only team with a zero in the loss column, am I right?”

Horse Sense: “True enough.”

Hysteria: “There you go.”

Horse Sense: “But surely you’re acquainted with basketball’s toughest double team: History and Probability.”

Hysteria: “Here it comes.”

Horse Sense: “You know how long it’s been since a team went through a full season unbeaten?”

Hysteria: “Oh, about as long as it’s been since Dr. Sourpuss sitting here next to me gave a happy thought more than two weeks to live.”

Horse Sense: “Try Indiana – 1976. That’s four decades, pallie.”

Hysteria: “Then the law of averages says it’s time for it to happen again!”

Horse Sense: “You need a better lawyer. Or to retake pre-algebra.”

Hysteria: “Look, it’s bound to happen again sometime, right? Why not now? Why not the Zags?”

Horse Sense: “Well, first, it’s not necessarily bound to happen again – and certainly not now any more than it was bound to happen in 1977 or 1978.”

Hysteria: “There’s where you’re wrong. Gonzaga didn’t have a team then.”

Horse Sense: “Did the bandwagon stop in front of your house, or did you have to run down to the corner to catch it?”

Hysteria: “Huh?”

Horse Sense: “Never mind. OK, let’s take this slowly. I have some data to share. Now, what’s Gonzaga’s record?”

Hysteria: “Seventeen-and-freaking-oh!”

Horse Sense: “Over the last 25 seasons, when did the last unbeaten team most often tumble from that perch?”

Hysteria: “Don’t tell me.”

Horse Sense: “At 17-0 – or 18-0 or 19-0.”

Hysteria: “So you’re telling me we won’t last the week?”

Horse Sense: “I’m only telling you the history. And that the Zags have three games in five days because of that Portland makeup – two of them on the road. And that more than 70 percent of the time, these streaks end in somebody else’s gym.”

Hysteria: “We’re toast. It’s over.”

Horse Sense: “Now wait a minute …”

Hysteria: “Bartender, another pint. Preferably plus-12 ABV.”

Horse Sense: “Man, you can find despair quicker than Przemek Karnowski can find the open man when he’s doubled in the post. Let me cheer you up with a Tweet I saw: “The Zags only unbeaten team in the nation/sent a message to St Mary’s that we r THE BEST! This Gonzaga team has legit Final 4 potential!”

Hysteria: “Dickie V! I’m with him! The only guy who uses more exclamation points than me! Hey, I’ll bet lots of pundits have the Zags in their Final Four.”

Horse Sense: “Good luck finding a pundit that has only four teams in his Final Four.”

Hysteria: “So all this last unbeaten history you’re giving me – those teams were all big-time, Power 5 schools, right?”

Horse Sense: “Yeah, mixed in with a Wichita State or a UMass every few years.”

Hysteria: “Well, there you go. This ain’t the ACC or Big Ten. The Zags are in the West Coast Conference. That’s a clear sailing into March.”

Horse Sense: “You realize they haven’t played at BYU or Saint Mary’s yet.”

Hysteria: “So? BYU lost to San Diego the other day. And didn’t we just watch the Zags roll the Gaels by 23? This is the best Zags team ever!”

Horse Sense: “Now that’s the H-man I know.”

Hysteria: “Look, you talk like being unbeaten is a bad thing. I’ll bet all those other last teams standing were right there playing for the big trophy.”

Horse Sense: “You’re short on memory. Wichita State lost in the second round just two years ago. Wake Forest in 2009 didn’t get past the first. Two years before that, Clemson settled for the NIT. Most don’t make it to the Final Four.”

Hysteria: “Damn. Maybe we should tank a game. They do it all the time in the NBA.”

Horse Sense: “But three have come back to win it all in the last 25 years – Florida in 2006, UConn in ‘99, Duke in ‘92. So the Zags lose one – what’s the worst that can happen?”

Hysteria: “Do you realize what that will do to our RPI?”

Horse Sense: “Bartender? I’ll have what he’s having.”

Follow along with the Zags

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