While the WKU fans pile in behind me in the stands (there are more than expected for this game), I’m sitting here watching something unusual that might be a sign of things to come in this game.
Gonzaga is going through a drill where they essentially play 4-on-4, but only their main six players (as mentioned in my last post) are participating. Maybe Mark Few know where his bread is buttered, but that makes me wonder even more just exactly how much damage this Gonzaga team can do when faced with either their guards or forwards being shut down. Who do they go to?
But if Gonzaga gets an open look, I don’t see them missing much. As they are putting up shots in pregame, most of them are finding the net. I know it’s shootaround, but I’ve found that a team that makes most of their open shots will knock down at least half of their contested ones. Closing out on the shooters will be the most important aspect on the defensive end for WKU, because this team can gun.
Western looks loose, about as loose as before Illinois, which is a good sign. One of coach Ken McDonald’s defining traits this season is his ability to both motivate and relax his team, something I believe he is much better than Darrin Horn at (it took Horn five years to get to the NCAAs, after all).
The crowd is filing in, and to be honest, I’m expecting a lot of WKU backers, though not all will be in red. Washington fans and Gonzaga fans are well-known to hate each other. The Huskies just lost, but they may find some comfort in watching the archrival Zags lose. It’ll be interesting to see if they get behind the Toppers.
The starting line-ups are as follows: WKU — Kerusch, Pettigrew, Evans, Slaughter, Mendez-Valdez. Gonzaga — Austin Daye, Josh Heytfelt, Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin, Micah Downs.
-Tip is in minutes, so stay tuned for halftime stats, facts and thoughts.