Soft 16: Gonzaga Bulldogs

Watch TF out for the bulldogs this year. We have seen this team grow for the last 2 decades from an underdog we all loved to root for to the #3 ranked team in the preseason. They have so many players to thank for putting them on the map like Adam Morrison, Kevin Pangos, Kyle Wiltjer, John Stockton, and Roosevelt Jones. Now, it is up to them to keep them there. Let’s breakdown the 2018-2019 Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Head Coach: Mark Few

Key Returners: Killian Tillie, Josh Perkins, Zach Norvell Jr.

Key Losses: Johnathan Williams III, Silas Melson

Key Additions: Brandon Clark and Geno Crandall (Transfers), Filip Petrusev

Key Games: Washington, Tennessee, @North Carolina, then a whole bunch of nothing in conference play

Mark Few is an awesome coach and seriously one of the best in college basketball right now. Since he took over 19 years ago, Gonzaga has never missed an NCAA Tournament. He took a mid-major longshot to a perennial powerhouse. Few knows that he cannot compete with larger schools like Duke, UNC, and Kentucky for recruits so he has been all over the international scene. Recently he has gotten Wiltjer, Sabonis, Pangos, Tillie, and Petrusev just to name a few. It is incredible how he has gotten so many players from all different cultures to play together and succeed. That’s NBA level coaching. The problem these teams normally have it that they don’t play anyone good until the tournament and end up losing early to relatively average Power 6 team. This year is different though. They have the #9 strength of schedule which can only help them. Even if they lose to Washington, Tennessee and UNC they will still have the experience and film to learn from. I expect big things this year. If there was ever a time for Gonzaga to make a deep run in the tournament, it is right now.

Prediction: The bulldogs will go 27-2. That’s right. I think they will beat 2 of the 3 ranked teams that they play in their non-conference schedule and then lose a random game to some nobody school in WCC play (happens almost every year). They will win the WCC Regular Season easily and secure the automatic bid by winning the WCC Tournament. They will go far in the NCAA Tournament too. I expect them to make it to the Elite 8 before their historic season comes to a close.

 

 

 

Soft 16: UCLA Bruins

Last Year: 31-5 (15-3 conference)

Key Returners: no one good LOL

Key Loss: all of their good players LOL

Key Additions: Shareef O’Neal

Coach: Steve Alford

Key Games: vs. #10 Michigan State (Las Vegas Inv – 11/22), vs. #8 UNC/Texas (Las Vegas Inv – 11/23), vs. Notre Dame (12/8), @ Cincinnati (12/19), vs. Ohio State (CBS Sports Classic – 12/22), @ #14 Oregon (1/10), vs. Arizona (1/26), @ #25 Washington (2/2), vs. #14 Oregon (2/23)

After having a hugely disappointing year and with key upperclassmen leaving, the Bruins hope to keep their formula for success going.  They lucked into Shareef O’Neal wanting to leave Zona due to them getting slapped with a nice FBI investigation…but he’s not even able to play.

The Bruins aren’t going to be good.  They don’t want to be good.  They have no reason to be good.  The only thing that matters to them is money.  As long as they sell-out the big games and sell out season tickets, they don’t care about winning.  They went from having Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, and Aaron Affalo on the same team, to having Lonzo Ball…and that’s it.  They could care less about the team.  Who else would hire a coach that starts his son all four years and keep him after said son graduates?

Don’t expect much, they are going to get slapped around and be the worst of the top teams in the PAC-12.

Prediction: UCLA will lose pretty much every big game they play.  Of the key games I have listed, I think they will lose 7 of them.  Honestly.  I have no faith in them getting past the 2nd or 3rd round in the the PAC-12 tourney, and I think they don’t even make the NCAA tourney.  This is a bad year to be a Bruin fan.