Before the opening game of the NCAA Tournament, perhaps after Gonzaga’s longest wait, the Zags are facing their fastest turn.
Gonzaga was one of the last teams to receive information in the first round before beating 16th-ranked Norfolk 98-55. The final beep sounded at about 20 on the PDT. On the 20th. The Zags soon learned it was 11 a.m. Monday. On the 40th, the PDT will meet in Indianapolis against the 8th Oklahoma.
That left little time for the tournament leader to celebrate the victory on Saturday, before the eighth-placed Sooners went into pre-season with Sweet 16 in the standings.
“It’s amazing, even after so many years of being in it, how amazing the short training is,” said Gonzaga coach Mark Fue, whose squad has made up the Sweet 16 for five consecutive seasons. “I do not think any of us returned to the room until 1 am (ET). We have a movie, an internship, a movie again (Sunday) և a kind of early morning (Monday) at 2:40 (ET). ”
Few have changed his game plan over the years for the day between tournaments.
“With experience, the biggest thing is to calm the boys down and keep them fresh,” he said. “When I first started it, we had to come together in full practice for five films. Now it’s about being fresh.
“These guys, as a group, master things very well, they are filmed wisely and transparently. We will be quite light (Sunday) և probably’s heavier for the Scout Report և movie. ”
Freshman Ale Alain Suggs is great because it ends late on Saturday and starts early on Monday.
“Although my body does not like it that much. “It’s not the same as AAU tournaments. I play 2-3 games a day, I don’t think I can do it anymore, but knowing that I have to go to bed (Sunday night), wake up and get ready to play again is a great feeling.”
Gonzaga (27-0) faces the Oklahoma team, which was in the top 10 in The Associated Press in late January after 10th win over Kansas, Texas and Alabama in eight days.
The Sooners dropped five of their last six games, four to the top 12, to move out of the standings before beating ninth-ranked Missouri 72-68 on Saturday. Gonzaga-Norfolk was in the first half when the game in Oklahoma ended.
Short-handed (16-10) soon hoped for goalkeeper Austin Reeves to pull big Brady Manek with second-placed striker Devon Harmon, who passed the COVID-19 test.
6 feet 5 Reeves made 10 free throws, scored 23 points and shared six assists in 38 minutes. Manek turned 6-9 into five triangles and added 19 points. Junior guard Elijah Harkles chipped 16 points և 10 boards.
Little did he say that Manek’s perimeter ability “really irritates your regular ball screens.” “Fortunately for us, there are several teams in our league that do the same scheme, so we know it well.
“Reaves may be like (Pepperdine’s) Colbey Ross, they use a lot of ball screens with complete freedom to do whatever they want. And he turns around, he jumps in you, he tries to tempt the officials to make a lot of mistakes, he does it perfectly. He is a filmmaker, really cunning “
Oklahoma has proven to be dangerous without key personnel, even before it pushed the edges of Missouri without Harmon. Reeves was unavailable shortly after the 66-61 victory over Alabama, but Harmon had 18 points, three of which were double-digit.
“We have been in the top 10 this year, we have beaten a lot of teams that are as good as Gonzaga,” said Manek, who scored 47 three-pointers, averaging 11.2 points. “We are going into this game, it looks like we have nothing to lose, but they are beating. We just have to play basketball and leave it there. ”
Coach Lon Krueger said that limiting Gonzaga’s transition game was the first priority in slowing down the nation’s main attack, but soon, like Gonzaga, there was not much time to study and implement their strategy.
“There is a lot to take, it’s the hardest part,” Suggs said of GU scouting in the short term. “We have so many pieces. we do a lot of things very well. Just trying to have 24 hours will be a difficult task for everyone. ”