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That. Was. Fucking. Awesome: Basketball Edition

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So Gonzaga just beat Duke 89-87 which begs one question. Could Gonzaga beat the Cavs? Well, that’s irrelevant because no college team would ever beat a pro team. So let’s just talk about Gonzaga and Duke instead, eh?

This was the third top-10 team Duke played this year on a neutral court and Gonzaga was the first team to play their game. We saw Kentucky get blown out. We saw Auburn get away from what they want to do and try to take the air out of the ball. Gonzaga played the perfect game and more importantly continues to show the casual fan that this is no-mid major. Gonzaga is a blueblood. Gonzaga might be the best team in the country.

There were three major questions I had coming into this game, which I talked about in the earlier blog. Gonzaga absolutely answered them. Here they were:

1. The point guard spot. You have a freshman in Tre Jones vs a senior in Josh Perkins. However, Perkins has been inconsistent, especially out at Maui. How will he handle Jones as an on ball defender?

2. What does Gonzaga do tempo wise? We saw Auburn slow the game down and not play the way they typically do. Do you get away from what you’re good at? It’s the ultimate question that coaches have to deal with. Gonzaga is much better getting out and trying to run.

3. Finally, does Duke take advantage of the mismatch? That leaves Kispert/Norvell on Barrett/Reddish. The question is which one. Reddish will likely be able to shoot over either of the two. Barrett will look to attack off the bounce more. That’s where it’s going to be won for either team.

So in response to that here’s what we saw. Josh Perkins took care of the ball. He did not score a lot, but the best thing he did was just control tempo and then put Tre Jones in ball screens and make him play defense for 15 seconds. This was one of Perkins better games as he sat there and took care of the ball. He was careless the first two games. Not tonight. He did an excellent job setting up teammates.

Gonzaga played like, well, Gonzaga. They didn’t get away from what they wanted to do. They got up 19 threes. They looked to run. They showed the way to beat Duke too. It was a lot of dribble handoffs and drive and kicks. They made Duke uncomfortable. They looked to run and then went controlled when they had to. It was magnificent.

Finally, they won the wing battle. Zach Norvell, who I jokingly but completely seriously said is the guy that 100% gets talked about being not talked about enough. He’s the college basketball version of Mike Conley.

But, what was awesome? This game. Can we run it back please? RJ Barrett was bad down the stretch. That’s part of the story. He went ISO ball and went 0-for-4 down the stretch. I get it, you want to make the play. But, you have to have a bit of feel there. You have to look at the side and kick.

What a game. Gonzaga is for real. Duke is for real. That was awesome.