Friday, December 08, 2006

Washington At Gonzaga Preview

One of the pinacle games of the early season has been Washington vs Gonzaga. The little school that could who became a national program against all odd's against the big State University from the rainy and populous side of the state. Gonzaga has dominated the series since Bob Bender started it as a favor to Don Monson during his tenure. Washington however picked up the W last year, is undefeated, and more highly ranked than the Zag's. This is the last game of the series for awhile. Washington publically says that they want to play more national competition. Gonzaga hints the Dawg's are ducking the Zag's, and insiders feel that it is simply Washington getting back at the BullDogs for turning them in for a recruiting violation at the start of Romar's tenure. Whatever the reason, this is going to be the last one for awhile.

Washington is led by So PG Dentmon, FR SF Pondexter, FR C Hawes, and the muscle of John Brockman underneath the basket. Backing them up is a variety of talent in a ten man rotation.
Gonzaga counters well with Washington and has more experience. The Zag's are led by SG Raivio, PG Pargo, and C Heytvelt. The 8-2 Bulldogs have beaten such teams as North Carolina and Texas, while losing to Butler in the final round of the NIT, and more recently at WSU this week. Gonzaga arrives much more battle hardy than Washington who has been coasting over a series of non names at home since the season began.

For Washington to win they need to start eliminating the turnovers. The Huskies are giving up more than 20 a game at this point and as the competition steps up they need to control the ball better. Brockman has been a rebound machine, and Pondexter has emerged as an early most evening offensive impact player. Hawes is rounding into the roll, and is starting to click offensively, but his rebound totals so far show he is far from putting together a complete game. Appleby has been a potent source of fire off the bench, while Adrian Oliver has struggled a bit since being named a starter. Washington is a young team trying to develop it's identity in the early going. The Huskies always play tough defense, but limiting Raivio, and Heytvelt are keys for victory in this one. Raivio is one of those guys like Morrison who can just go off, and beat you.
The atmosphere at the Kennel on the Gonzaga campus is electric for big games. The Zag's haven't lost at home for 44 games. Washington is the right team at the right time to end that streak. The Huskies have more overall talent than the Bulldogs, but maturity will be an evening factor. This one will go down to the wire.

Big Game Notes

The Zag's load up in the pre season and that is why they are an ESPN favorite because they load up on big games to bolster seeding going into the perceived weaker WCC Schedule.... . Seattle University along with University ofDenver, both WesternJesuit, Catholic instititutions are involved in preliminary discussions to join the league. For Denver it would solve some serious travel problems. For Seattle it would be a return to the big time at the exact moment the Sonics are leaving town. Key Arena a potentially empty 17,100 seat arena would welcome them as a tenant, sounds like Back to the Future. For Gonzaga it would be the beginning of Western Washington being closed to them as a viable market... . Romar says that they will look at scheduling Gonzaga again in the future, look for Washington to demand that both games be played in Seattle, one at the neutral Coliseum, and one at Hec Ed... . Few responded playfully "if we lost seven of the last eight games, I'd probably look to get rid of that team." Few went on to say diplomatically, "Scheduling is really the hardest part of the business right now, even tougher than recruiting, and there are a lot of different ways to do it," he said. "Washington's way has certainly worked terrifically the last couple of years." Few is open to playing UW in the future, "Yeah, whatever, it's not that big of a deal," Few said. "If they want to play, there's probably a place for them"... . Only seven players saw double-digit minutes for Gonzaga against WSU. The Bulldogs are waiting for a few players to return from injuries, notably former Juanita High star Micah Downs. Downs, who transferred from Kansas, wouldn't have been eligible until Dec. 16 due to NCAA transfer rules, but is also sidelined with a broken foot. Few said Downs hopes to be ready for a game against Nevada on Dec. 30 at KeyArena.

Gonzaga Facts

Crooner Bing Crosby, and Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad are prominent Gonzaga alumni, Bing may be deceased but his estate still contributes... . Gonzaga is one of 28 Jesuit, Catholic universities in the United States; others include Boston College, Georgetown and Marquette, and of course Seattle U... . Athletic tradition at Gonzaga University is almost as old as the University itself, ranging from the football hey days at the early part of the century to the Bulldogs latest foray into the NCAA Elite Eight. As the University has grown from a single building along the banks of the Spokane River in 1887 into a major urban campus, so to has the Gonzaga athletic program grown. Gonzaga now competes in 14 varsity sports at the NCAA Division I level and is a proud member of the West Coast Conference... .In the early part of the century, football was the game at Gonzaga as future NFL Hall-of-Famers Ray Flaherty and Tony Canadeo joined with numerous others to put Bulldog athletics on the map. Gonzaga which had its own on campus stadium in Spokane suspended football during the second World War and did not resume it afterward because of escalating costs, and low enrollment after the War.


prrbrr said...

Nice write up on GU, more than I ever wanted or needed but still interesting. Watched the last half of Montana last night, I think the announcers said UMass had completed 17 screen passes, talk about lack of adjustments. Tackling by Montana was also suspect, and I now know why Swogger didn't beat out A Brink. OTOH, congrats to the lady Vballers, but they have a tough one tonight. Hope the home court helps them a bit, this one is going to be close.

hairofthedawg said...

Agree on the volleyballers...I'm just glad the UW/GU game is on TV over here. First time this year and I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys have. I even have the day off!

Although I didn't see the game I agree with the comment concerning lack of adjustments. I was a freshman QB in HS and playing JV and I just kept calling draws with our TB until they stopped it. I also loved screens because I didn't have that strong of an arm.

Go volleyball!

Health Insurance Expert said...

The strength of Montana under Hauck will always be recruiting, not calling a game. Who can ever forget the 12 men on the field call when we played Michigan under Hauck's oversight.

A little criticism in the local papers for Washington dropping Gonzaga off the schedule, but UW has a history of doing that. They protect their own territory.