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Over too soon

The NCAA men’s tournament will be over next Monday and an old champion will once again be crowned as the best in the land. Well at least the best at the end of the season which is all that matters.

The matchups for games dictate so much because each team plays a certain way and you need to adapt or else you will need to catch the next flight back home. As a Gonzaga fan last Thursday’s game was a real punch to the gut. I’ve been there before seeing a near perfect team struggle against a more physical opponent. Maybe not more athletic but physical and at tournament time referees have tendency to call a game different and since these refs are from all over the country you never know what they would call a foul and what would be a no call.

In last Thursday’s game there were a few instances where non-calls favored Arkansas and a couple of ticky tack fouls limited Chet Holmgren’s playing time especially when he fouled out. I had a coach my senior year whole told us after a loss that a referee could not win or lose a game but they can certainly make things difficult.

I know of a couple of very successful coaches that looked at tournament play as a time where referees let things go in order to keep games on schedule. So coaches prepared their team to be a bit more physical and maybe more handsy in order to disrupt the other team’s best players. I heard a coach say that referees won’t call every foul. This disrupts a finesse team and favors the more physical team. But it is also important to be able to make free throws when playing in any game.

Watching Gonzaga play over the years we all have appreciated their athleticism and fast paced play. They are fun to watch. When they play against teams applying brute force it may not be so much fun. So what is the answer? Do we need a 250 pound Chet Holmgren as opposed to the 195 pound variety? I don’t know that answer because the 195 pound Chet is pretty good and quite agile. I think that we may need for the people that keep touting how high these kids are going to go in the NBA draft to just shut up. The money is always going to be there but the college basketball experience won’t be.

As much as the sports gurus talk about it I certainly haven’t been entertained watching a NBA game as much as a college basketball game. And the win or go home format is far more emotional than the best of 5 or 7 series in the NBA playoffs.

I can’t imagine it happening but what if Chet Holmgren decided that he wants to come back and try to win the elusive NCAA championship for Gonzaga? Do you think that he would fall from the number 1 NBA pick to 15? Consider this. If he does declare for the draft and I’m sure that he will do you think that the team that chooses him would be favored to win the championship? Physically I wonder how he will match up against some huge dudes.

If it’s the money then go for it and don’t look back. But there may not be a better experience than playing at the Kennel. The place is jam packed and a loud, wild atmosphere. Jalen Suggs didn’t have the opportunity to play in front of the students and GU but when he returned in February he was right in the middle of the Kennel grinning from ear to ear. Oh well, the kids in the Kennel don’t always get to sit next to 20 year old millionaires either.

So it was once again over too soon for the Gonzaga Bulldogs but what a wonderful ride it has been. Here’s hoping that next year we won’t have to deal with game postponements or cancellations. Any disruptions are difficult to cope with and can be detrimental for any team. Unlike Dr. Fauci, I’m done with Covid 19.


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