30 second game guide
Bring’em Out: Gonzaga Bulldogs (4-4) at No. 23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1) at Purcell Pavilion Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
Watch for: A statement to-be-made by Gonzaga. What that statement will be…that’s to be determined. The Bulldogs are coming off one of the worst losses in recent memory, both emotionally and in point differential. Losing by 22 to rival WSU Wednesday has the Zags confidence shaken as witness to the completely silent locker room following the Cougar game. The players (and Mark Few) all pretty much said the same thing. It’s a brutal schedule, but there’s always the next game. We’ll see what GU is made of against yet another ranked opponent come Saturday.
Fear: A third-straight loss. It’s been since the ’92-’93 campaign Gonzaga’s been off to such a rough start, long before the Few era. The last time the Bulldogs suffered three consecutive losses wasn’t that long ago. In 2008-2009, GU lost three in a row (UConn, Portland St., Utah), but rebounded to win 18 of its next 19 to finish 28-6 overall with a Sweet 16 appearance. Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, this season is not lost by any stretch.
Respect: Ben Hansbrough. The senior guard for the Irish is having his best year as a collegian. Hansbrough (Tyler’s little brother) is averaging 16.3 points and nearly four assists per game. The real threat he poses to the Zags is beyond the arc. He’s chiming in at an uncanny 55% from 3-point land. If you’ve watched GU’s perimeter defense over the past two games (23 three’s allowed), you know this spells trouble if Hansbrough gets hot.
Random Stuff: This is the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Notre Dame is coming off its first loss of the season at No. 16 Kentucky, 72-58.