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Gonzaga Basketball

Zags Basketball Insiders Podcast (episode 5): Sweet revenge at LMU, an ESPN GameDay appearance, and a look ahead to Saturday’s big Saint Mary’s showdown

 (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

As great as last week went for Gonzaga basketball, this week could be even better.

In the latest Zags Insiders Podcast, Spokesman-Review reporter Jim Meehan and TV analyst and former Gonzaga center Richard Fox look back at a week that saw GU get revenge on Loyola Marymount during an L.A. sweep, earn a spot in the NCAA’s early Top 16 reveal and learn that ESPN GameDay would be coming for the big Saint Mary’s matchup on Saturday.

The pair also break down some possible NCAA seedings from that early glimpse into the Top 16, Julian Strawther’s emergence as a reliable No. 2 scorer, and the ESPN showdown against the Gaels on Saturday at the Kennel that could decide the WCC title.

Catch the episode at It’s also available on Apple podcasts, Spotify and Google podcasts.

Among the highlights:

Meehan: “The Zags had maybe one of their better three-day stretches in a long time: They went to L.A. to avenge the loss to Loyola Marymount; they learned that ESPN GameDay is coming Saturday to the Kennel for … a two-hour show (that) kind of sets the table for basketball that night – Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga, which probably will decide the WCC title; the selection committee put Gonzaga at 15th overall, a No. 4 seed, in its preliminary rankings; and then the Zags outscored Pepperdine 97-88 on Saturday night.”

Fox: “To have GameDay here draws a lot of eyes. As a player, I would presume, you get a little bit more juice, if that’s even possible given what’s going to likely be at stake on Saturday night. But from a program perspective, it’s a lot of eyes on you from a recruiting perspective. I think it could be enormous. I would presume that they’ve got recruits scheduled to come up for this weekend, given it’s Saint Mary’s-GU, and you know that the Kennel generally is going to be pretty lively in that scenario. But now you add GameDay to the mix. I think it can have a big impact.”

Meehan, on the Top 16 reveal where Arizona was a No. 2 seed: “Kind of interesting with the Zags and Arizona in the same bracket. A lot has to happen before we get to see the matchup everybody wants to see, but interesting that they’re both in the West right now.”

Fox, on Strawther’s recent big-scoring stretch: “He’s shooting the ball really efficiently.

That floater, I don’t know what you call that shot, quite frankly, because he’ll get into that shot at the free-throw line. It’s almost like a push shot floater.

It’s really interesting … that he’ll take it that far out from the rim with the confidence that he has. I love the fact he’s getting to the line – 18 free throws attempted the last three games. Early in his career, even at start of this year, he was so dependent on a 3-point shot, it could get frustrating at times because he’s 6-7, he’s a big kid, (and) he’s got a knack for getting around guys.”

Meehan, on Saturday’s Saint Mary’s game: “That environment on Saturday, with the rivalry, with both ranked, with the title implications if it comes to that, I don’t think we’ll have seen anything like that in several years in the Kennel.”

Fox: “Believe it or not, I’ve had some people text me, asking me if I could get them tickets to the game, I’m like, ‘I can’t myself. I can’t even get one.’ ”