Shocker? Wichita State Presents Challenge for Zags - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Shocker? Wichita State Presents Challenge for Zags

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - If you told me before the NCAA Tournament that Southern, Wichita State, and LaSalle/Ole Miss would be the teams standing between Gonzaga and the Elite Eight, I would've jumped out of my seat.  But here I am in the media work room, hours away from a 3rd round matchup with the Shockers, and I am downright nervous.
 
Granted, Gonzaga was rusty in its opener against Southern.  They were just a little bit off.  Wichita State was by no means sharp in its win over Pitt, but the Shockers were physical and just plain nasty.  They have athletic guards who can take away the three-point shot.  They have strong big men who can push you around.  If you've followed Gonzaga, you know you have to hammer Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, and defend the perimeter.  Wichita State plays much like Syracuse in that regard.  It presents a bad matchup for Gonzaga.
 
I saw Pitt throw up brick after brick against the Shockers on Thursday.  1-of-17 from three-point range.  That's not a fluke.  A lot of that falls on Wichita State guard Tekele Cotton.
 
"I look forward to being that guy to chase around their player like I did (Thursday)," Cotton said of the upcoming defensive assignment against Gonzaga's guards.  "So I look forward to chasing around Kevin Pangos.  I have no problem with it.  I enjoy it."
 
I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more of Przemek Karnowski in Round 3.  I saw something similar when Mark Few gave Ryan Spangler the bulk of the minutes last year against West Virginia.  If Cotton is Wichita State's free safety, flying all over the place, Karnowski could be Gonzaga's fullback, clearing the way for Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris.  I saw Karnowski, a stout 7-footer, absolutely maul a Southern Jaguar on Thursday.  If you were watching, you know the kid is like a Grizzly pawing away at a salmon swimming upstream.
 
Whatever Gonzaga plans to do, I'm sure the Zags will not be outcoached.  They have one of the most talented coaching staffs in the country, with a national player of the year candidate to boot.  And that makes them a very real threat to reach the Final 4.  Even if they make me nervous in the process.

I'll be tweeting away as always @SWXSamAdams throughout the day, starting with the Arizona - Harvard game.  As an ASU Sun Devil and a sportscaster following Gonzaga, I have no problem rooting for Harvard.  The way this West Bracket is shaping up, why not knock out the #6 seed while we're at it.
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