Gonzaga Basketball: Critics Will Fuel Bulldogs' Deep Tournament Run

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 19, 2013

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 09:  Elias Harris #20 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs passes the ball during a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference Basketball tournament against the Loyola Marymount Lions at the Orleans Arena March 9, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images

Throughout the season, the Gonzaga Bulldogs have constantly been criticized for having an easy schedule.  They are likely tired of it by now and will use all of the criticism to fuel them to a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

The Bulldogs schedule may have been easy, but that shouldn’t make doubters ignore the fact that they had an impressive season.  They went 31-2 on the year, which was the best overall record in the country.  They finished without a single loss in their conference, going 16-0. 

While there are no jaw-dropping wins, they did beat Oklahoma State and Kansas State earlier in the season.  The last time they lost was January 19th , when Butler beat them on a buzzer-beater after a crazy series of events.

The numbers for the Bulldogs as a team are pretty intimidating.  They average 77.6 points per game and hold their opponents to 59.4 points per game.  That’s an average winning margin of 18.2 points a game.

You may criticize their strength of schedule, but they absolutely dominated the competition.

The Bulldogs are also a strong team on the boards.  The have an average rebounding margin of 7.2 rebounds per game.  They know how to box out, and truly dominate opponents on the glass.

The stars on this team make them even more intimidating.  Kelly Olynyk has been sensational for the Bulldogs, earning a spot as a finalist for the Wooden Award.  He’s averaged 17.5 points per game on 65.2 percent shooting.  Elias Harris has been great as well, averaging 14.9 points per game while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor.

The path may be challenging for the Bulldogs, but they are ready to finally prove themselves.  The critics that said they shouldn’t have earned a No. 1 seed have been heckling the Bulldogs for a while now, and the team is ready to silence those critics.

That being said, this West region is no picnic.  Teams like Wisconsin, Ohio State and Kansas State could very well send the Bulldogs home early.  They are all Final Four contenders that have tough players including Ben Brust, Aaron Craft and Rodney McGruder.

The Bulldogs are ready to get the tournament started and ready to shut the doubters up.


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