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Bud Withers' Blog

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Is this finally Gonzaga's banner season?

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Those Zags, always the show-stopper.

They’re at it again, splashing up insane offensive numbers, cozying up to triple digits routinely, sending Drew Timme off to win national player-of-the-week honors on a weekend of 27-for-32 shooting.

This year, they started No. 1, were all the rage after clowning Texas and UCLA, and then receded from the national conversation by losing to Duke and Alabama. But they followed with an underrated win over Texas Tech before touching off the current run of ridiculousness against WCC teams.

They're 14-2. And yes, they’re No. 1 again.

Meh, you say.

It’s true that the Holy Grail continues to elude the Zags. Some of their achievements put them shoulder-to-shoulder with the blueblood programs, but they’re always the outlier, never having won a national championship.

Let’s allow that the Gonzaga administration, the coaches, the fan base and the recent rosters will perpetually lament not having won a title if it never happens. It’s the star atop the Christmas tree.

But, for however long it takes you to negotiate this sermon, let’s put aside what hasn’t happened and focus on what has. Beneath GU’s latest foray to the No. 1 spot are an array of numbers that shout perspective even as some fans scream for the ultimate banner.

Like: Beginning with Gonzaga’s first No. 1 ranking in 2013, the Zags have been voted to the top of the AP poll in six different seasons, a number equaled only by Duke. Kentucky and Kansas trail with four apiece.

This season’s four weeks at No. 1 makes it 38 weeks over those 10 seasons, good for No. 8 on the all-time list. And when Gonzaga chases down Cincinnati’s 45 in seventh, the six programs ahead will be Duke, UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas and Indiana.

Consecutive weeks at No. 1? Gonzaga’s 17 last year rates seventh all-time.

Courtesy of the NCAA record book, Gonzaga is 12th all-time in winning percentage (.931, or 95-7) over a three-year period and 12th over a two-year period (.954 or 62-3).

The Zags’ 61 straight victories at the McCarthey Athletic Center brings them within hailing distance of Arizona’s 71 at No. 10 in history.

There are the other standbys: The Zags’ 22 straight NCAA tournaments is No. 5 all-time, and its 12 consecutive victories in the tournament’s first round is history’s sixth best, behind North Carolina (18), Kentucky (16), Kansas (15), UCLA (14) and Kansas again (14).

Six successive Sweet 16 appearances is the longest ongoing streak and tied with UCLA for fourth all-time behind North Carolina and two Duke teams.

You get the idea. The Zags keep exceedingly good company these days. Now they’d like to separate from the crowd, elite as it is.
#theslipperstillfits #unitedwezag #wccsports #zaghoops #zagsmbb #zagup

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