As a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament in the last season, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are building off of a disappointing season. The Zags lost all-conference center, Kelly Olynyk, to the Boston Celtics and are looking to find his replacement for points elsewhere.
Kevin Pangos, a junior guard from Ontario, Canada, has picked up the slack on offense that the Olynyk departure brought forth. Not only did he pick up the slack, but he was the reason they beat the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Sunday night. In the non-conference matchup, Pangos was 6-of-13 from the floor including 5-of-9 from three. Top that with three assists, and the Canadian was efficient from the floor.
However, Pangos is not the only scorer for the Zags. Hall-of-famer John Stockton’s son, David Stockton, provided five assists, five rebounds, three steals and only committed two turnovers.
The Bulldogs play in a deep West Coast Conference and that will help them get back to the promised land for the 15th season in a row. Despite only getting to the Sweet Sixteen five times in that span, the Bulldogs think they can compete again for a one-seed.
The Bulldogs currently are ranked 15th in the country and its ready to finish with 30 wins, again.
Coach Mark Few has a veteran group that knows how to win against lesser opponents but can they finally get over the hump and finish in the sweet sixteen for the sixth time in 16 seasons? That’s the question all Gonzaga fans need answered at the end of this season.
The Bulldogs have a great group of scorers that also love to play defense as they held the Grizzlies to 67 points. Gonzaga had four players (Sam Dower, Przemek Karnowski Pangos and Gary Bell Jr.) in double figures. Pangos is the star of the Gonzaga squad, but the three aforementioned players should not be left home.
The Grizzlies have played four good teams thus far in the season, including Gonzaga; however, its record (0-4) is nothing to write home about. But the Horizon League is deemed to be winnable this season. If the Grizzlies can get past its brutal non-conference schedule, it will be in good sledding for an automatic tournament bid.
This is by far the worst schedule Gonzaga has ever played, but the in-conference schedule and the game against number 13 Memphis will shake some heads and give the Bulldogs some national attention. The West Coast Conference is deep this season and Gonzaga is the clear front-runner to win the conference. The Zags appear to be more dominant than ever before, if they can equate it to NCAA Tournament success, Gonzaga will finally get the monkey of its back.
The tournament showed a weakness in the armor, this season is proving to be different as the Bulldogs are eighth in the country in field goal percentage, a stat that goes widely unnoticed.