Okay, we’ve made it to the Sweet 16.
Now we head to San Jose, California to take on the 34-1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in the SAP Center (or the “Shark Tank” as northern Californians call it)
In that spirit, I will try to pitch you the Bulldogs in the way that entrepreneurs do in the hit ABC show Shark Tank. (If you’re not acquainted with the show click HERE for an example pitch)
WELCOME TO SHARK TANK!
Ha. Just kidding.
There we go...
THE PRODUCT: The Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball team
SEEKING: A national title and respect for their school and conference nation-wide. This could possibly set a precedent for acceptance of a weak regular season schedule, given an undefeated or near-undefeated season.
Let’s go into detail about the product...
Quality wins: Florida (11/25, 77-72); Iowa State (11/27, 73-71); Arizona (12/3, 69-62)
Bad loss: BYU (2/25, 79-71)
Conference performance: went 20-1 in games involving teams from the West Coast Conference (the 11th best conference in the country, according to the Sagarin Ratings behind the Power 5, Big East, American, A-10, Mountain West and Missouri Valley). Won by an average of 26 points in those games.
What is your offer? What do you see this team doing against West Virginia?
I’ll let you think about that.
Date: Thursday, March 23rd
Tip-Off Time: 7:39 PM ET/4:39 PM PT
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, CA
Tickets: General Public (includes Arizona-Xavier game)
Streaming Video: March Madness Live (or the March Madness Live app for smartphones)
Radio: WZST Variety 101 (100.9 FM in Morgantown) and the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Affiliates)
Streaming Audio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio (or the TuneIn Radio app for smartphones)
Satellite Radio: SiriusXM 202
Spread: Gonzaga by 3
Where are they from? Spokane, Washington
Series History: Gonzaga leads the series 3-0
Last Time: No. 20 Gonzaga 80, West Virginia 76 on December 10, 2013 in Morgantown
SB Nation Blog: The Slipper Still Fits
Record: 34-1 (17-1 West Coast)
Head Coach: Mark Few (he dances like Michael Jackson...)
KEYS TO THE GAME
- How will the Zags move forward from Northwestern? I think anyone who watched their game on Saturday knows that the Wildcats nearly had Gonzaga. They went on a 20-5 run and cut the deficit to within five with a little over five minutes left. Right after that, Gonzaga’s Zach Collins blocked Derek Pardon layup although it should have been goaltending. Wildcat coach Chris Collins argued the point and received a technical, which changes the tone of the game. How will this Bulldog team move forward from blowing a 20+ point game.
- Gonzaga players to watch for: Nigel Williams-Goss (16.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg); Przemek Karnowski (12.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg); Jordan Mathews (10.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg); Zach Collins (10.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg); Johnathan Williams (10.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
- Depth will likely not be an advantage. As you can see above, the Zags have some players for sure. They have eight players who play 10+ minutes per game, so watch out for that.
HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE? (SCALE 1-10)
Like I mentioned before the Notre Dame game, all opponents are at level 10. We need to be at the maximum level of fear. We are at THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT!!
PREDICTION THAT WILL BE WRONG
A really, really tough game for both teams, but the Mountaineers come out on top.
West Virginia 71, Gonzaga 68