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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Blanchette: Please use this constructive list while waiting for next week’s poll

Gonzaga students are looking for the Zags to be ranked No. 1 in the country. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga students are looking for the Zags to be ranked No. 1 in the country. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Things to do while you’re waiting for the Gonzaga Bulldogs to climb to No. 1 in the polls next week – or while you’re working up outrage if they don’t:

Try to muffle the voice in your head worrying that these wipeouts like Thursday night’s 79-43 blitz of San Diego aren’t helping the Zags get better for when they’ll need to be at their best.

Dream up some new signage for the Kennel Club. The students are still loud and proud, but their poster game could use some work.

Stop tweet-begging ESPN GameDay to make a stop in Spokane. If the Zags are unbeaten and No. 1 come Feb. 25 – the only possible date left – the Worldwide Leader will need you more than you need it. Besides, Jay Bilas will spend all his air time bagging on the NCAA anyway.

Draft legislation mandating “The Star-Spangled Banner” be sung in less than 2 minutes, under all circumstances.

Dread how far the Zags might drop in the polls if they should (shudder) lose to Pepperdine on Saturday, or to any of the teams on the crowded lower floor of the West Coast Conference.

Appreciate Przemek Karnowski’s touch with a pass, and the outrageous notion of a “point center.” His teammates do. “Except sometimes you don’t expect them,” Johnathan Williams III said.

Propose “Kernkraft 400” for induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame, since it’s unlikely Zombie Nation gets into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Investigate what the Gonzaga athletic department did with the old red jerseys.

Send out a good thought for Mary McCann, whose recent passing was acknowledged in tribute by those flowers in the empty seat up behind the Gonzaga bench on Thursday night. She and husband Jack, a trustee emeritus, have been longtime GU benefactors.

Don’t feel sorry for the Zags or think they’ve been overworked in this stretch of five games in 10 days. “As long as we don’t have to practice, I’m fine with it,” said guard Jordan Mathews, who then proposed Monday-Wednesday-Friday games. Any chance coach Mark Few goes for it? “I could mention it to him,” Mathews said. “We’re 21-0 – he’s hearing more from us now.”

Prepare for the possibility that if Villanova beats Virginia on Sunday, the defending national champs will stay No. 1 despite the Tuesday upset at Marquette.

Predict when the open-collar look expands to the entire Gonzaga coaching staff, and then to all coaching staffs, and then across the professional landscape – and accept how much better our world would be without neckties.

Ponder the hours of gym time it took Mathews to sculpt that smooth, high-release jump shot and what cosmic accident must occur for even one of them not to go through the hoop.

Speculate what Gonzaga’s record would be if the Bulldogs indeed had to do battle each night in the Big 12 or Big East, or even the Pac-12.

Consider what the challenge might be for Kansas or Villanova or UCLA to recruit as members of the West Coast Conference, and keep their edge every night.

Acknowledge, finally, that these Zags are an elite defensive team, both statistically and viscerally. “We haven’t taken a night off,” Few insisted. “When they’ve needed attention to detail, they’ve had it. When they’ve needed to be physical and athletic, they’ve done that. When they needed to suffocate 3-point shooters, they’ve done that. That has stood out.”

Hate that the NCAA and CBS want to suck some of the drama and intrigue out of Selection Sunday by handicapping the Top 16 seeds on a televised show on Feb. 11. Because football does it. And because there’s a dollar in it.

Prepare for the possibility that if Kansas wins at Kentucky on Saturday, poll voters will forget that the Jayhawks lost by 16 points at West Virginia and they’ll stay ahead of Gonzaga, too.

Roll your eyes at Mike Krzyzewski barring his players from their cushy locker room and ordering them not to wear Duke gear as punishment for … what? Sucking? Entitlement? Let’s just hope such theatrics didn’t cause him to throw his back out again.

Enroll in a night-school algebra class so you can decipher the intricacies of the KenPom and Sports Illustrated power rankings, both of which have Gonzaga as No. 1.

Wonder why with the names being offered up as national coach of the year candidates – Scott Drew, Jay Wright, Steve Alford, Sean Miller – Few isn’t among them. No elite program had to replace more scoring (70 percent) and rebounding (65) off last year’s team than the Zags.

Enjoy 21-0. No poll should have to validate that.

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