Is this the year Gonzaga finally makes the Final Four?
That's the question Sean Farnham was asked during Saturday night's broadcast of the fifth-ranked Zags' win over No. 22 Saint Mary's, and the ESPN analyst didn't hesitate with his answer. He said, yes, Gonzaga will be in the Final Four.
I never speak definitively about such things because the NCAA Tournament is a single-elimination tournament of 40-minute games, and the best four teams almost never make the Final Four. So put me down for ... we'll see. But if somebody asks whether Gonzaga can make the Final Four, my answer is ... absolutely.
The Zags are good enough.
They just beat Saint Mary's 79-56.
Here are three takeaways from the blowout:
1. Gonzaga made a statement
Duke-Louisville got more attention, and that makes sense. But basketball junkies were just as interested in Gonzaga-Saint Mary's because the two teams entered with a combined record of 31-1. And the Zags won convincingly. By 23 points. And now they're in sole possession of first place in the WCC -- not to mention four top-50 KenPom wins and a zero in the loss column. Nobody else can say that.
2. Nigel Williams-Goss can be a First Team All-American
The dudes who typically get honored individually in this sport are great players on great teams, and Williams-Goss is a great player on a great team. The Washington transfer got 19 points and six assists in the win over Saint Mary's. He's now averaging 15.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the nation's only undefeated team. That's an All-American resume, undeniably.
3. It's time to start talking about Gonzaga going unbeaten
The Zags still have to visit Saint Mary's next month, and that won't be simple. But it should be noted that KenPom now gives them a 33.7 percent chance of entering the WCC Tournament undefeated. Obviously, that doesn't mean it's likely. But it does mean it's reasonably possible. So keep an eye on Mark Few's team.
They don't have a star like Adam Morrison.
But they're solid in the backcourt and in the frontcourt.
I've forever said Few will bust through and advance to April eventually because he's too consistently good not to, and it looks like this could be the year. Entering Selection Sunday with zero losses would set him up to do it.
So doubt Gonzaga, if you want.
But this team is legit.
The record shows it. The computers confirm it.
The Zags belong among the elite.