Gonzaga Suffers First Loss to BYU


Gonzaga Basketball

Austin Twiss, Reporter

Gonzaga University, the number one ranked men’s basketball team in the nation, has analysts and fans calling them the best team the private Jesuit school has ever seen.

On February 25th, the Zags played BYU at home in Spokane. The Bulldog community expected another solid win to end the regular season with a undefeated record.

A victory would have sealed the deal on the perfect season. Not to mention, it would convince the NCAA tournament committee that the team was nearly guaranteed a number one seed.

The Bulldogs blew a ten point lead in the fourth quarter and played their worst game of the season. This marked the Cougars 3rd consecutive win at the Kennel. National analysts called for them to lose their number one seed.

The loss to BYU set fire to Coach Few’s squad. Prior to the loss, impressive displays against notable ranked teams, Florida, Iowa State, Arizona, and league rival Saint Mary’s, prompted a deserving number one spot. All of this changed when they were shocked in an incredible upset.

With the 79-71 loss, the team received a storm of criticism looking ahead into March. “The team has never made it past the elite eight,” “They are overrated,” “They always blow it in the tournament.”

The team has performed, at the best, mediocre in the tournament. They have clinched 18 consecutive March appearances while frequently losing in the second round. However this has undoubtedly set fire to the organization this season. Gonzaga has dominated the West Coast Conference the last 20 years, winning the conference tournament 14 times since 1999.

Historically, the team has made it to the Elite Eight twice, and tallied many round of 32s and Sweet Sixteens. But of the 19 appearances, not once have they advanced to the Final Four. Despite this, 2017 is the year for that.

The Zags head coach, Mark Few, holds the the number one spot among all NCAA coaches for win percentage. Starting point guard, and University of Washington transfer, Nigel Williams-Goss is a finalist for the Wooden Award, and an evident leader. Aside from the two other experienced transfers in the starting lineup, the depth on the roster is unreal. Watch any Gonzaga game and listen to the commentators discuss the team’s talented rotation.

There are eight Bulldogs that play the majority of the game. Any combination of the eight is as good as the other. With this depth that the school has never seen before, they can make a lengthy run many have been waiting on. With an experienced and diverse frontcourt and backcourt, the team should be aiming for an Elite Eight appearance at the very least.