Always known for offense, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are making their mark this season on defense and on the boards.
So much, in fact, that they’re rekindling memories of another Gonzaga team.
In the latest Zags Basketball Insiders Podcast, Spokesman-Review reporter Jim Meehan and TV analyst and former Gonzaga center Richard Fox compare some of this team’s best traits with the Bulldogs squad that lost to North Carolina in the 2018 national title game.
The two also discuss the latest rankings, with Gonzaga coming in at No. 7 in the AP poll and 31 in the NET, and talk about the inspired play of freshmen Braden Huff and Dusty Stromer.
Catch the episode here. It’s also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.
A few highlights (edited for brevity):
Fox, comparing this year’s Zags with the 2017-18 team: “That team was enormous with (Zach) Collins, (Przemek) Karnowski, (Johnathan) Williams. You had (Killian) Tille as the fourth big – what a luxury that was. That team was good enough (that) Rui (Hachimura) couldn’t even get on floor. Big guards with (Nigel) Williams-Goss at the point, (Jordan) Matthews, (Josh) Perkins – to me, the best team Gonzaga has ever put on the floor. That team made its bones rebounding and defensively, was plenty good offensively, but they were a nightmare every night. This team reminds me a lot of that with the size that Gonzaga can play with.”
Meehan, on freshman Dusty Stromer: “He has just a great way of staying in front of who he’s guarding and and not giving up either the 3 or the the drive.”
Meehan, on Tommy Lloyd’s top-ranked Arizona team: “The Wildcats will have the target on their back for a little bit as the top team in the country and I think they’ve earned it. That’s a heck of a squad.”
Fox, on Gonzaga being No. 31 in NET rankings: “It’s too early to really take much from it, but it’s a really good barometer, especially as we get into mid- to late-December when a lot of these big games have been played and you move into conference.”