The Kansas State Wildcats proved that Manhattan, Kan. is their house against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Big-12 Conference is asserting its dominance throughout the country this year, adding a quality win from a mid-level team is beneficial to not only the Wildcats, but to the conference as a whole.
The Wildcats are not the best team, but coach Bruce Weber has his guys playing at the level he wants. At 7-3 on the season, it’s looking like Weber’s Wildcats can be ranked soon. His two 6-foot-7 big guys Thomas Gipson and Wesley Iwundu were the players showcasing their talents tonight. Simply put, the Bulldogs cannot stop good offensive big guys.
However, is this a sign of concern for the Bulldogs? The arrows are pointing to the “yes” meter as the West Coast Conference’s season is starting up here quickly. The big guy duo of Sam Dowers and Przemek Karnowski did not have its best day both defensively and offensively.
The one-dimensional offense of three-point shooting was on display for Gonzaga; 21 of its 50 shots came from the perimeter. The Bulldogs only made seven of those 21 three-point jumpers resulting in a 10-point loss, 72-62.
The tell-tale sign for coach Mark Few’s team was the free throw shooting — the crowd must have gotten in the heads of all the Gonzaga players. Karnowski’s 0-for-6 clip from the line was one of the many reasons as to why the Bulldogs lost. Only getting to the line 15 times is not good in today’s game and the three-point shooting woes are killing sharp-shooters Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr.
If the Bulldogs want any chance of regaining a top-25 ranking, they must take care of victories on the road. This was only the second true road game for the Zags, but the home-heavy non-conference schedule has helped the Bulldogs keep their composure throughout the season — at home.
On the road, it’s a different story. Gonzaga is now 1-1 in true road games this season — the only win coming against a pesky West Virginia Mountaineers squad. If the Bulldogs want to turn over its recent tournament woes, it must find more offense than just the three-point line, especially on the road.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII.