David Becker/Getty Images
For years, Gonzaga has been like a poor man’s Duke. What the Zags lack in talent, they make up for with coaching and players who fit into a particular type of system. The current team relies on outside shooting from its guards and finesse forwards. Sound familiar?
As a Duke fan, I hate Gonzaga. I hate the Zags because they embody the irrationality of people who hate Duke. What has Duke ever done to earn the ire of every other sports fan? Gonzaga is also a private school that plays a similar style of basketball and frequently turns goofy looking white guys into great college players with limited NBA potential. Worse, Gonzaga’s road to success comes by way of beating up inferior competition in a mid-major conference.
At least Duke has the decency to pick on teams its own size.
Maybe this is a matchup I’d like to see solely because it feeds into my irrational sports anger towards Gonzaga. Then again, a game against Gonzaga would likely spark the same media firestorm that preceded the Duke versus Butler game.
Pundits could wax poetic about programs ‘doing it the right way’ and TV audiences could vilify Duke while making Gonzaga out to be some kind of heroic David versus Goliath. As a Duke fan, I’m comfortable with that scenario.
But the best thing of all about a potential matchup with Gonzaga is that it couldn’t happen until the Elite Eight at the earliest. So if these two teams meet, then it means that Duke hasn’t flopped out of the tournament early thanks to poor shooting and failing to stop penetration.
Plus, since I think Gonzaga is vastly overrated, it’s a game Duke ought to win relatively comfortably.