After 25 consecutive wins, all of which have been televised, it may be time to wonder if there is some sort of broadcasters’ checklist for this season’s Gonzaga games.
During the blowouts at least.
The Zags, as the country’s top-ranked team, always seem to be a subject. As are Nigel Williams-Goss’ chances to become the nation’s player of the year. The defense. GU’s offensive balance. The transfers. Przemek Karnowski’s beard.
OK, that last one has faded into the background.
But everything else?
Heck, it’s almost as if each box has to be filled each night as the margin grows from five to 10 to 20 and beyond.
Almost makes one wonder if Dan Dickau is getting tired of covering the same stretch of road every time he does a game.
Dickau was on W.tv’s call of the Zags’ 90-60 win at Loyola Marymount on Thursday night and though his companions were different – the West Coast Conference’s TV network used Steve Quis on the play-by-play and Kelli Tennant on the sidelines – the subjects were remarkably similar to the discussions he has with Greg Heister and Richard Fox on the local broadcasts.
Even if the broadcast itself wasn’t as clear.
Though KHQ, which carried the game in the Spokane market, is a high-definition station, the W.tv transmission must not have been, as its less-than-clear view of half-empty Gersten Pavilion was a bit off-putting.
These days, low-definition broadcasts are like black and white ones from a previous generation: unexpected and unappreciated.
The same could be said for the sparse crowd at LMU, which had never before hosted a No. 1-ranked team in this building.
A sellout it wasn’t. And the folks that braved the 60-degree weather weren’t exactly a rowdy bunch. Except for a couple of students who seemed to want everyone to know “Spokane (a word attributed to vacuum cleaners).” And their compadres who held up the inflatable palm tree early in the game.
We get it. It’s nice in Southern California this time of year.
In Gersten, not so much.
Not when the Zags are playing with focus, something Dickau and Quis wondered if they would show during the pregame show. In fact, Saturday’s game at No. 20 Saint Mary’s was alluded to in one of Dickau’s keys to the game.
“Don’t look ahead to the big showdown on Saturday that everybody knows about,” he said.
After about 10 minutes, it was obvious Gonzaga wasn’t. And even if the Bulldogs had been, Loyola Marymount seemed determined to ensure GU kept its focus on this one.
The Lions did that the old-fashioned way, with physical play.
The most egregious example of that – there were at least six harder-than-they-needed-to-be fouls out of the 31 called on LMU – came with 2 minutes and 20 seconds left in the first half.
Gonzaga led 41-25. Williams-Goss, who missed the Santa Clara game with an ankle injury, was driving to the rim in transition. And 6-foot-7, 255-pound Shamar Johnson body-blocked him to the floor.
No attempt at the ball, something Quis and Dickau noticed before the replays. Nothing but a shot, seemingly aimed at taking Williams-Goss out of the game.
Though Johnson earned a Flagrant 1 foul, which meant two free throws and the ball, he wasn’t ejected. And the Lions, whose coach Mike Dunlap could be seen in one replay happily clapping about Johnson’s play, weren’t deterred.
Maybe it was a reaction to how soft they had played in the first few minutes of the game.
Quis said more variations in the first half of “that’s too easy” after made Gonzaga baskets (four) than Tennant made appearances on the broadcast (three) before intermission.
Come to think of it, saying “that’s too easy” seems to be another thing on the broadcaster’s checklist this season.
And, no, they aren’t talking about most of Gonzaga’s wins. Though they could be.
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