Gonzaga’s Inaugural Loss

Let the debate begin.

If a team has come through the regular season in a dominating fashion, do they benefit from losing a game prior to the start of tournament play – be it conference or NCAA Championships-or does it make any difference to their psyche.

The subject of undefeated regular season has special significance for me since I started following Gonzaga university long before they were tagged the Zags.

A 7-foot-3 Frenchman, Jean Claude LeFebvre, arrived in Spokane to occupy the post for the Bulldogs and I was a year away from enrolling at the University’s namesake high school Gonzaga Prep up Hamilton Ave by a couple of miles.

Intrigued by the tallest man I had ever heard of and flabbergasted by the size of his size 21 shoes, I fell in love with hoop in general and GU in particular.

There I said it.

After all these years and more than a thousand games I have revealed what I have failed to tell anyone – Behind baseball, which was my best sport, I favored broadcasting basketball over descriptions of gridiron tales.

Of course I knew nothing, not did I care, about the challenges then coach Hank Anderson endured to get Jean Claude to the states

Nor did I even fathom that in my broadcast life I’d have Brad Millard, ironically from St Mary College of the now Gonzaga occupied WCC, sign a full-size newspaper illustrating the actual size of his 21-plus size kicks.

But enough of my history with Gonzaga, even without documenting future Washington Supreme Court Justice Frank Burgess, there isn’t anyone who argues about their regular season dominance under the leadership of Mark Few.

I have an autographed team basketball and press guide from their best NCAA finish in 1999 in the Regional Final, a victory short of the Final Four. The Zags matched that performance in 2015.

But despite representative seeding and 19 trips to the Dance, Gonzaga constantly fails to perform in the post season showing only a 24-19 record.

And this season as the Nation’s No. 1 and only remaining unbeaten team and on the verge on doing something only another team can match (an unbeaten league season) they fell to BYU in the Kennel.

Depending on their WCC Tournament performance the loss should not diminish their No 1 seeding, so was it a good loss?

Does shedding unbeaten and No 1 status take any of a target off your back?

My bigger concern is while they played a nice pre-conference season, they seemingly had not been tested in a couple of months – That is until the “Y’‘ got em’ in Spokane for the third straight season. Talk about having their number.

More to come..Just sayin’


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