The mind wanders sometimes when Gonzaga is dismantling another West Coast Conference opponent.
Such was the case Saturday night as the top-ranked Bulldogs thrashed Pacific 95-49 at the McCarthey Athletic Center, prompting two familiar topics – the chances of finding room to reschedule Baylor and the possibility of the Zags running the regular-season table – to resurface in postgame Zoom interviews.
Those two items obviously could become related depending on what happens, and we consider both in the latest Gonzaga rewind.
So you’re saying there’s a chance...Gonzaga coach Mark Few reiterated that being in the middle of conference play makes it tougher to find a workable make-up date for the Gonzaga-Baylor contest that was called off due to COVID-19 concerns Dec. 5 in Indianapolis.
Few hasn’t given up, but one opening, Saturday, Feb. 6, has been filled. Gonzaga is set to face Santa Clara, a matchup that was originally scheduled for Jan. 7.
“The update is, like it is all year, you just play it by ear,” Few said. “Scott (Drew, Baylor coach) and I talk, and it gets complicated as you get into league. We’re flexible and ready, and I think a lot of people I’m talking to are flexible and ready, so we’re all in that mode right now.
“There’s a little bit of a requirement to hit your league games first if you can, so it would probably take a double cancellation in both leagues. But if it did, rest assured we’d jump on planes and go get it on somewhere. I think both teams would like to (play).”
Gonzaga has been No. 1 and Baylor No. 2 in the AP poll every week. The teams have traded the top spot in KenPom’s rankings with the Zags currently at No. 1. Baylor is first and Gonzaga second in the NET rankings. Gonzaga (15-0) has 14 wins by double figures. Baylor (14-0) has 12 wins by double digits and recent eight-point victories over No. 15 Texas Tech and No. 9 Kansas.
It’s the game everyone wants to see – we’re not opposed to a best-of-seven series – with most experts saying the Zags and Bears have separated themselves from the pack.
Few’s discussions aren’t just limited to Baylor when it comes to finding another marquee nonconference contest. Keep in mind Few has numerous coaching friends guiding highly ranked teams, including No. 5 Texas and No. 6 Tennessee. Few was a guest on Villanova coach Jay Wright’s podcast a few months ago. The Wildcats are No. 3.
“People around me tell me I’m kind of a realist. I’m neither an optimist nor a pessimist,” Few said. “My take is it’s slightly more complicated as we get into league, but there’s still a lot of cancellations going on and the willingness is there. So we’ll see.”
No loss column
The list of unbeatens is down to five: Gonzaga, Baylor, Winthrop (15-0), Drake (13-0) and Alabama A&M (4-0).
The Zags currently have 10 WCC games remaining. The chances of Gonzaga going unbeaten in the regular season is similar to one of the Zags’ hot-shooting halves: 66.2%, according to KenPom.
The toughest matchup remaining by percentage is the Feb. 27 regular-season finale at BYU. Gonzaga has an 85% chance of winning, according to KenPom. The next toughest is 92% at San Francisco on Feb. 13.
The Zags are 99% against San Diego on Thursday and Loyola Marymount on Feb. 4, and 99.7% favorites over the Toreros on Feb. 20 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
“We’re a competitive bunch,” sophomore forward Drew Timme said. “All we want to do is win, it doesn’t matter when, where or how. So yes, to answer your question, we just want to win every game and every chance we get out there, because you don’t know how many games we could have left potentially with COVID.
“So every chance we get, we just want to go out there and prove that we’re the best.”
Winthrop has a 36.8% chance of going unbeaten. Drake, which hasn’t played since Jan. 4, is at 0.8% and Alabama A&M is 0.0%.