WCC Basketball Tournament - Championship

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know Gonzaga

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Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: WCC

Coach: Mark Few

Record: 31-2, 16-0

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 4
– RPI: 11
– AP/USA Today: 1/1

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had the Zags as a No. 1 seed in Monday’s bracket projection.

Names you need to know: Kelly Olynyk (17.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Elias Harris (14.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Kevin Pangos (11.8 ppg, 3.2 apg)

Stats you need to know: Everyone is going to talk about Gonzaga’s front line, but it’s important to note that the back court of Gary Bell and Kevin Pangos combines for 21.0 ppg and 40.8% three-point shooting.

Tendencies: Gonzaga has a very good front line and Mark Few sure does know how to play through them. What makes those big guys dangerous is their versatility. Olynyk and Harris can handle the ball, they can step out and hit a jumper, they can pass the ball.

Big wins, bad losses: They lost to Illinois when Brandon Paul went crazy and Butler in Hinkle when Roosevelt Jones scored the flukiest bucket of the season.

How’d they get here?: The Zags won the WCC’s automatic bid, but the only thing that did was put them into a better position to get a No. 1 seed. Kansas State and Oklahoma State are their two best wins.

Outlook: Gonzaga is a national title contender. There’s simply no way that anyone can make an argument against that. They have the best front line in the country, one of the nation’s most under-appreciated back court and plenty of size and athleticism on the wings. The shoot it well, they score in the post, they can beat a zone and execute against a man-to-man, they defend, they rebound. They’re legit.

How do I know you?: Everyone knows Gonzaga. But if you don’t know their star, Olynyk, you may recognize him as Mitch from the movie Dazed and Confused.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.