The Road To Vegas Runs Through Spokane and the Zags

Colin KeysContributor IFebruary 2, 2009

After a convincing win over St. Mary's in Spokane, Gonzaga has once again proved that the West Coast Conference will run through Spokane for another season.

In seven conference games this season, the Zags have won by an average of 23.4 points per game.  Gonzaga has shown hustle on both ends of the floor, playing great defense and allowing an average of 56 points per game.

Scoring has been balanced with Gonzaga's usual high-scorers, Austin Daye and Josh Heytvelt.

The one issue that seems to be present of the Zags this season is a lack of bench scoring. Gonzaga's Micah Downs has played well off the bench this season but the majority of the the points  are coming from their starters, who are playing a lot of minutes as well.

The rest of the season does not get any easier. With a "neutral" site game at the Spokane Area this Saturday against No. 14/15 Memphis, the Zags will need to have a strong game from their bench. Memphis embarrassed a Heytvelt-less Zags squad two years ago in the Zags home away from home.

The rest of the conference schedule won't be any easier. With games at St. Mary's on Feb. 12, which could feature the return of St. Mary's superstar Patty Mills, and a game at San Diego on Feb. 28, where former Zags assistant Bill Grier is now head coach.  Gonzaga will face adversity before they prepare for the conference tournament.

The Zags are playing well, and can't afford a middle conference season slide prior to the WCC tournament in Las Vegas.

The regular season still runs through Spokane.


But Gonzaga's bench will need to step up in order for the Zags to dominate in Las Vegas and make it past the first round for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.