This could be Gonzaga team that gets to Final Four & links on Seahawks’ Percy Harvin trade

Like a lot of you, I’m not sure Gonzaga’s the No. 1 team in the country, but the Zags proved during its 65-51 West Coast Conference championship victory over Saint Mary’s on Monday night that they are certainly deserving of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Gonzaga showed off all elements of its game against the Gaels. Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris dominated inside. Kevin Pangos, Kevin Bell Jr. and David Stockton brought toughness, and smart decision-making to the court. David Hart brought his defense and all those intangibles that make him the player he is. Coach Mark Few pretty much stuck with those six players, but he’s got a capable bench that will need to come up big at some point if the Zags are going to make a deep run in the tournament. There will be games when Gonzaga will need more than 10 minutes from 6-10 Sam Dower.

Questions? They might be susceptible to a tough zone defense. BYU made it tough for Gonzaga to get good looks in a late-season game where it pushed the Zags to the very end. Syracuse, for instance, might be a tough draw.

Have the Zags been pushed like Indiana and Michigan in a tough conference like the Big 10? No, but there’s no question this is the best Gonzaga team, perhaps, since the Spokane school burst on the NCAA scene in 1999, getting within a game of the Final Four. Gonzaga’s Wonderdogs lost to No. 3 Connecticut in the West Regional championship 67-62 in Phoenix that year. Don Monson was the coach, Few his loyal assistant and they featured guards Quentin Hall, Richie Frahm and Quentin Hall and rebounding machine Casey Calvary, whose tip-in gave Gonzaga an upset win over Florida and a shot at UConn. Gonzaga hasn’t missed an NCAA tournament since, but it’s never returned to the Final Eight.

The current team (30-2) might not shoot it as well from the outside as that ’99 bunch, but it’s just as athletic, much better defensively and it has Olynyk, the best big-man in the country. Did you see his dunk Monday night after taking a pass from Stockton on the break? You had to remind yourself that was a 7-footer making that play.

So maybe this is the year the little school gets to the Final Four. This is a pretty hard-nosed group. If I was a coach of a team in the tournament, I wouldn’t want to play ’em.


Tuesday links

Former Seahawks’ offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson, a key to their Super Bowl run in 2005, announced that he is retiring, ending a 12-year NFL run.

One man’s view: Percy Harvin not the player you think he is, writes Pete Prisco of CBS Sports.

Another man’s view: Harvin could turn out to be a headache for Hawks, writes Mike Freeman, also of CBS Sports.

And, yet, another opinion on the trade that brings Harvin to Seattle: Don Banks of says this bold move could work in the Seahawks’ favor.

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