Zag fans want the whole enchilada
03-13-17

So I was listening to a Seattle sports-talk radio show a couple of weeks ago, and the host posed a hypothetical question to his audience about Gonzaga men's basketball and the NCAA tournament.

Two options for GU fans: One, you could choose a guaranteed run to the Final Four, but only with the stipulation that you'd lose in the national semifinals in Glendale, Ariz. Or, the second option is, you roll the dice, take your chances and try to win the whole ball of wax -- knowing that you might not even make it to the second weekend.

I was surprised at the choice of the show's co-hosts, who were in agreement. Before spoiling the outcome for you, let me relate a story from last week.

I spoke to the Spokane County Bar Assn. on Friday, and, curious about how those luncheon attendees might weigh in on the subject, I ran the proposition by them: Take the bird in the hand (the guaranteed Final Four) or go for the gusto and a shot at winning it all.

There were 50-60 people in the audience. At the mention of the first proposition, one fellow sort of half-raised his hand, looked around and then lowered it, seemingly a little sheepishly.

On the latter proposition, maybe 30 people raised their hands readily. (As for the disparity between that number and the total attendees, I had stipulated it should be a matter for Zag fans and supporters.)

Fair to say, I was pretty shocked. If I were in the shoes of a Gonzaga fan, I would take the guaranteed Final Four. Obviously, the Zags have never accomplished that, and there's so much nasty narrative about it nationally, I'd view it as a first-things-first approach. I think when Gonzaga finally does get to a Final Four, it will not only puncture the criticism on that front, but enhance the appreciation for what the program has accomplished. And no, I don't necessarily see this season as one in which it's as good as it will ever get at Gonzaga.

Having said that, I understand the let-it-ride philosophy and the belief that if this is a special team, it needs to be allowed to try to fulfill a dream. One of those luncheon attendees told me later the vote was a sign that people don't care about that segment of national dialogue that questions Gonzaga.

By the way, the radio hosts on that show I mentioned were in accord with the folks at the luncheon -- go for the gold.

So mine would apparently be the opinion of a small minority. That ain't the first time.


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