Few admits WCC poor preparation for Baylor (without using the letters)

Everything I ever said about Gonzaga not being prepared and the WCC being a soft league admitted in one paragraph.

“I wish somebody had told me on Sunday morning that’s what we were in for. My guys would have responded. I wasn’t ready to go there.”

Except no they wouldn’t have. Because they didn’t have the steel. They hadn’t been tempered by fire, shaped by muscle and sweat. And they weren’t talented enough to do it on mostly talent like a UNLV (the game and the attributes of the players was also a lot different then)…

This is half excuse (“we could have done better if it wasn’t so physical”) and half admission that the WCC doesn’t prepare a team for that level. Because in the midwest in conference play, every single game is like that. That wasn’t even unusual. Playing non-conference at a neutral site is NOTHING like the league grind in those leagues.

And if they had played a team like that earlier in the tournament, they would have lost. And now a 7-foot, 185-pound freshman has chosen the Zags to hide out for a year and the WCC to mask his obvious lack of physical strength. I’m sure he and Timme together will be very very impossible to handle in the WCC. Maybe even better tougher than what they had this year. But they’ll probably have the same problem when they have to do more than get by on superior talent.

The SCU game was the canary in the coal mine. We weren’t that physical, but we were more physical than they were. And they didn’t like it.


It was one game, and a Gonzaga game at that. Who cares?

Agreed, betterer. Seems a stretch to blame the conference “weakness” as the reason for being a runner-up twice in 3 seasons.

Some version of this argument crops up every year, and it always strikes me as a goofy post hoc rationale for “why the Zags lost.” I detest Gonzaga basketball and can barely bring myself to root for them even out-of-conference, but a bad take is a bad take. Note that the bad take part is not that Gonzaga wasn’t prepared to play that physically. Maybe that’s true. The silly part is that the WCC had literally anything to do with it or that it somehow means that Gonzaga should switch conferences.

Perhaps the Zags should join the Big East so that they could play tougher, more physical teams. Maybe they could have been as tough as Creighton (who the Zags beat by 18). Playing in the Big 12 against Baylor clearly sharpened those Oklahoma Sooners (who the Zags beat by 16). And the vaunted Big 10 was so tough this year that they managed to get (checks notes) one team to the Sweet 16. No way would the Zags be able to have their way with a tough, athletic teams from major conferences like Auburn, Iowa, West Virginia, or Virginia.

The whole “Gonzaga doesn’t play anyone all year” has a lovely infallible logic to it:
When they lose, it’s because they didn’t cut their teeth against the crazily tough/athletic/fast/well-coached teams from [fill in major conference].

When they beat those teams, it’s because one of:
(a) that team was overrated all year and clearly wasn’t the matchup that [fill in other team from the same conference] would have provided; or
(b) the team they beat was so exhausted from the challenges of playing in the [fill in major conference name] all year against teams like [fill in cherry picked team names from (a)], so there was just nothing in the tank for the Zags who play JV squads all year

There are different styles in basketball. Some of those styles are regional. And yes, some do come from the level of talent in each league. But as far as I can tell, the only way to have been prepared for Baylor this season was to have played Baylor before the national championship. So maybe it’s on Gonzaga for not having scheduled a pre-season game against Baylor…oh wait…


PattyMac-You nailed this. Seems most of the experts had already coronated the Zags. First 5-8 minutes Baylor couldn’t miss and GU got rattled. So they joined a promenade of five or six other teams whose only loss was the championship game…guess all those teams should have honed their skills in tougher leagues…oh wait they did. BTW, if Karnowski had just an average night shooting inside, the Zags win. I seem to remember he missed many open or slightly contested shots that he normally buried.

Meant to reference the UNC game in '17

Maybe if USC and UCLA played in a tougher conference on the west coast they could have been more prepared for Gonzaga.


About the reaction I figured. If someone else posted it, it would be different.

Look, I didn’t say gonzaga was unprepared for a physical battle with a quality major conference team. Gonzaga’s coach did. He said it like a politician would, but if you read between the lines, that’s what he said.

Thing to do is sub in a benchie early and tell him to rough some people up. Try not to get a flagrant but if you do then you do.

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UCLA was physically a match for Gonzaga. Maybe more than. They outplayed them. UCLA was just unlucky.

Gonzaga isnt as good as those other 1 loss teams other than maybe wichita. But gonzaga didn’t have to play a team like that kentucky team in the 2nd round. If they had, they probably would also have lost.

In the end, Gonzaga was a paper tiger. Again programs their own size they would have lost quite a few games and maybe not even won their league.

Which if course is why they dont want to leave the wcc when they can just pretend they want to and get everything their way.

Like I said, non conference neutral site games are nothing like the every game grind in jan and feb. Youd have to be part of it to understand. I have been. I suspect none of you have.

I was a bit snarky above. But I just don’t think that paper tigers get to the National Championship. They certainly don’t go undefeated on the way there. Nor do they beat Auburn, Iowa, Virginia, WVa, Oklahoma, UCLA, BYU (3x), and Creighton.

It’s one thing to say that the Zags wouldn’t go undefeated in the Big 10 or ACC. Fair enough. I think I would agree with you. But Duke usually doesn’t either, and no one is arguing that Duke is a paper tiger in the years when they get to the Final Four. This is a complaint that is only ever lodged against the Zags and comes after each loss to a power conference team, no matter how many power conference teams they blew through on their way there.


I don’t think duke has ever been undefeated going into the ncaa tournament. Haven’t looked it up to be certain.

I don’t know how many times I have to say that non conference is bupkis compared to the conference. The big conference teams want to win non conference but they also want to use them to learn about their teams and prepare for the league wars.

Some of those teams changed a lot from when gonzaga played them to the end of the year.

It’s too bad that the baylor game got called off bc the narrative of this season would have been different and possibly so would the tournament draw.

I was there watching from the rafters and freezing my butt off (A/C was up to the max in the late March AZ heat). Seemed like Karnowski left his contact lenses at the hotel. It was just brutal. Almost (?) as bad as Ron Reis missing 11 (?) in a row from the charity stripe in '91 against LMU.

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