Gonzaga Basketball: Bulldogs' Best Situational Lineups in 2013-14

Hayden Deitrick@hdeitrickFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2013

Gonzaga Basketball: Bulldogs' Best Situational Lineups in 2013-14

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    Gonzaga basketball has won five straight contests since the loss to Dayton in the Maui Invitational.

    Gonzaga has started to get back to form with wins over New Mexico State, Arkansas and West Virginia, and it has become clear that the team's chemistry is only improving.

    To get to this point, though, Mark Few has had to tinker with different lineups to match his new roster that features a lot of turnover from a year ago.

Starting 5

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    James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    David Stockton, Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., Dower Jr., Karnowski

    The starters that Mark Few has consistently given the nod to are also the players who have the most experience in the program.

    Stockton has been at the helm of the Gonzaga offense for three years, and now, in his fourth year of eligibility, he has played with the confidence one would expect from the son of a legend.

    Both Pangos and Bell Jr. have a green light to fire shots from anywhere on the court. It has certainly paid off as both have shot over 50 percent from behind the arc, and each has increased his point-per-game total by over five points.

    With such little depth in the frontcourt, the Bulldogs have relied heavily on both senior Sam Dower Jr. and sophomore Przemek Karnowski. The two are averaging a combined 24.8 PPG and 15.1 RPG.

    If these two big men can avoid foul trouble, they will be in serious consideration for all-conference honors.

Uptempo Offense

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    James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    Pangos, Bell Jr., Coleman, Barham, Dower Jr.

    If the 'Zags are looking to push the tempo, the best thing Mark Few can do is substitute Gerard Coleman for David Stockton and move Kevin Pangos to the point guard position.

    Coleman brings an added amount of athleticism that has been lacking on a Gonzaga team since Steven Gray graduated in 2011. His ability to push the ball up the floor and his unparalleled skills at getting to the rim makes him necessary during fast tempo games.

    Pangos and Bell Jr. have chemistry in the fast break that is truly incredible. While watching these two play together, it is clear that, in their two years starting together, they have established a telepathy of sorts, as each always knows where the other is on the floor.

    By playing Dower Jr. at the center position and Drew Barham at power forward, the Bulldogs have two big men with the ability to spread to floor all the way out to the three-point line.

Lockdown Defense

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    James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    Stockton, Bell Jr., Coleman, Dower Jr., Karnowski

    When Gonzaga needs to clamp down on defense, the best lineup it could put on the floor is one that does not feature Kevin Pangos.

    Stockton’s ability to guard the point guard is undervalued based on his lack of size. With great speed and elite hands on defense, Stockton can clamp down when needed and is a better option than Pangos.

    Bell Jr. is a proven lockdown defender for the Bulldogs, and while Coleman is not yet renowned for his defensive prowess, his size allows him to match up with small forwards. Without many options to guard wings, his height alone makes Coleman a necessary part of any defensive lineup.

    Dower Jr. and Karnowski have been steadily improving on the defensive end all season long, and it makes sense to have height in the frontcourt when the team needs stops.

Small Ball

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    Stockton, Pangos, Bell Jr., Coleman, Dower Jr.

    When the 'Zags are looking to play small ball, the team typically looks to play four guards and a center.

    With Stockton at the point guard position, Gonzaga’s guards surround the perimeter and play Sam Dower Jr. down low.

    All four guards are capable of shooting from beyond the arc, and this season it has been clear that all are able to get into the lane and either find a shot for themselves or create one for a teammate.

    With such little depth in the frontcourt, Gonzaga has been forced to play small a lot this season, and when it does, the team truly lives and dies on jump shooting.