2007 Gonzaga Bulldogs Basketball Preview
The Gonzaga Bulldogs (21- 11 overall, 11-3 West Coast) last NCAA bracket-miss was 1998. Last year, the Bulldogs, under coach Mark Few (211- 52 over eight years with Gonzaga and overall) finished first in the conference again. Despite losing two key players, the Zags look strong this season as Few has cultivated the best bunch of recruits the team has seen since he started coaching. All four of the new guys will contribute immediately.
Last season, Gonzaga proved they could score points as their 78.5 PPG placed them first in the conference and 19th in the nation. Their scoring defense, which allowed 70.1 PPG, got them a ranking of fourth in the league. Rebounding margin was at plus-3.9 (third) and assists at 14.5 PG (fourth). Turnovers could certainly use improvement as the club lost the ball 13.9 times each game, which was sixth. They shot a solid .483 from the floor and .395 from downtown and were a featured as one of our free college basketball picks.
Junior forward Josh Heytvelt (15.5 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 53.7 FG%) is a gifted athlete who proved to be dominant on offense, defense and in the NCAA basketball odds. The big man blocked a team-high 43 shots. Senior Andullahi Kuso (4.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 53.4 FG%) was tough upfront, blocking 42 shots. Forward David Pendergraft (7.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 57.8 FG%) can bang inside, offering stability in front.
Junior guard Jeremy Pargo (12.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.6 APG, 48.6 FG%) greatly improved his shooting last year and looks to be the backcourt’s go-to guy. Sophomore point guard Matt Bouldin (8.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.1 APG, 44.8 FG%) is a fine ball handler and passer. He’ll run the backcourt. Micah Downs (8.1 PPG, 0.9 APG, 41.7 FG%) is an excellent third guard off the bench.
Someone always seems to be picking Gonzaga as the team to surprise everyone in the tournament. Last year the club was out of the March Madness betting quickly, losing to Indiana 70- 57 in round one. There’s some extra-added pressure this season as Heytvelt faces legal issues that could hamper his play. But if the star forward can work through his legal maze, the Zags should be golden again.