Both the Zags and the Huskies put their season on the line tomorrow with a sweet sixteen birth on the line. Both teams are a little more relaxed today after getting out of the first round safely. Not relaxed in the sense that they are letting up, but relaxed that they are feeling less pressure, or feeling less nervous, or something like that.
The Huskies are going to have to play a clean game tomorrow against Purdue. The way that all the players from Washington are describing this Purdue team is fundamentally sound. They even compared this team to the Cougars last year, and we all saw how hard the Cougs were to beat if you didn’t take care of the basketball. The Huskies might be a better team than Purdue, but if they don’t play well, they might be headed home. Also don’t forget…the Huskies were 0-3 against the Cougars last year, so this might not be a very good match-up for them.
The Bulldogs are taking on a team in Western Kentucky that they beat just last year. The Zags beat the Hilltoppers last year in Alaska by three. The leading scorer from that game for WKU is not here anymore, and their best player also graduated. Gonzaga also won that game without Josh Heytvelt. Everything we are hearing around here today is that this team still has really good guard play and they crash the boards hard. That is a dangerous combo to play against if the Hilltoppers are on their game tomorrow. This team is hard to predict because they beat Louisville this year by 14. Louisville is the #1 seed in this entire tournament. Then they lost big to Murray State, Evansville, and Mississippi State. They also lost to Denver on the road. So depending on what team shows up tomorrow the Zags could either be sent home, or they could win by 20. The Zags seem to be much more laid back today in the locker room. I don’t know what to make of the feeling in there, but it’s like a mixture of relief and confidence. I guess we’ll see tomorrow what that means for the Zags.
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