Gonzaga 2010 NCAA Tournament Preview
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Gonzaga Bulldogs - West Coast Conference (26-6, 12-2)
Seed: #8 - West Region
Big Wins: 11/24 vs Wisconsin (74-61), 1/14 at St. Mary’s (89-82), 2/6 at Memphis (66-58)
Bad Losses: 1/30 at San Francisco (77-81), 2/18 at Loyola Marymount (66-74), 3/8 vs St. Mary’s (62-81)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, Sweet Sixteen loss to North Carolina
Coach: Mark Few (11-10 in 10 NCAA appearances)
Probable Gonzaga Starters:
Matt Bouldin, Senior, Guard, 15.8 ppg, 4.1 apg, 4.6 rpg
Demetri Goodson, Sophomore, Guard, 6.5 ppg, 1.8 apg
Steven Gray, Junior, Guard, 13.7 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.1 rpg
Elias Harris, Freshman, Forward, 14.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg
Robert Sacre, Sophomore, Center, 10.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Key Gonzaga Roleplayers:
Grant Gibbs, Freshman, Guard, 2.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Bol Kong, Sophomore, Forward, 4.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Kelly Olynyk, Freshman, Forward, 3.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Why The Bulldogs Can Surprise:
Gonzaga is known for their quality guard play and Matt Bouldin is next in the long line of great guards that have gone through Spokane. The 6-5 senior is a superb scorer in every imaginable way. He averages 15.8 points on the year and connects on 37.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. He will also use his size and speed to get to the basket or the charity stripe, where he shoots an impressive 86.9 percent. But Bouldin is also the Bulldogs best ballhandler and dishes out 4.1 assists and turns the ball over just 2.3 times per contest. And, of course, with his size he is a solid rebounder and defender as well.
This team may go as far as Bouldin can take them, but he will need help from fellow perimeter players Steven Gray and Demetri Goodson. Gray is the only other outside shooting threat on the team besides Bouldin, although far less prolific and efficient. But Gray is still a fine scorer who has the size to attack the basket and help out on the glass. He is even a fine passer for a 6-5 guard and will take over the leadership role left behind by Bouldin next season. Goodson is not much of a scorer or a shooter, but he has gotten the starting nod for his defensive skills.
Why The Bulldogs Can Disappoint:
The problem with Gonzaga is their depth. There are a handful of players who are capable of coming in for a few minutes here and there, but this team lacks a player who can provide a spark off the bench. It is nice to have Bol Kong to come in for the big guys when they get in foul trouble, but he is not a dominant interior presence and the injury to Mangisto Arop does not help. Kong is more known for his shooting abilities than his ability to come in and play solid defense or score some points. The bench scoring rarely comes from Kelly Olynyk or Grant Gibbs either. Gibbs can hit the outside shot and Olynyk is a decent slasher who can attack the basket, but both are inexperienced freshmen and at some point in the tournament Gonzaga will need some real production off their bench.
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Who To Watch for Gonzaga:
The starting frontcourt is prone to foul trouble. Robert Sacre has to bang under the basket and Elias Harris will make some freshman mistakes. However, both have been surprisingly productive. Sacre is a double-digit scorer and the team’s best shot blocker and Harris has come out of nowhere to average 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds. Both of those players need to stay out of foul trouble or Gonzaga will have to rely on the inexperienced bench much more than they would prefer.
Gonzaga By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.1 (26th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.5 (135, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.6 (5, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.2 (45, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (230, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.3 (79, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.2 (258, 8)
Rebound Margin: 5.1 (33, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (126, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (112, 2)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Florida State