Gonzaga loses third straight; ND wins, ‘SC Cougs it

Well, the good news is, Gonzaga plays better in the NCAA Tournament when they’re the underdog, right? :| Here’s hoping that trend continues, because the Zags ain’t going to be no #3 seed in 2007.

The Zags lost their third straight game Saturday, 82-74 to Nevada, and fell to 9-5 on the season, 4-5 since beating then-#2 North Carolina in the preseason NIT on November 22.

How should I feel about this? Cue La Rev:

Weird season this. If this were the first game of the year, we’d have been pretty happy. For that matter, if it were the game right before Carolina, we’d have been pretty happy. Some time after the Carolina win, however, this season turned on its head. I’m probably a little guilty myself, but Zag fans should start remembering that this is still a rebuilding year.

Buuuuuuuuuut…

That was a pretty stinkin’ winnable game. There’s not really an excuse for losing a close game to a team who had the best player on the floor foul out with five minutes left. … Nevada’s good. Real good. But GU should have won that sucker.

The Zags have one more nonconference game — at Virginia on Wednesday — before starting conference play. And while that means things should get easier for them (Gonzaga plays probably the toughest nonconference schedule in the country, to make up for the weakness of the WCC), it won’t necessarily be a cakewalk: their WCC schedule opens Jan. 6 with Loyola Marymount, the team picked to finish #2. It’s at home, though, where Gonzaga has a 6,714-game winning streak (or something like that). Here’s hoping the Zags, who haven’t played at home since December 9, return to Spokane to face the Lions sporting a 10-5 record, not a 9-6 one and a four-game losing streak. Beat the Cavs!

Speaking of three-game losing streaks, erstwhile mid-major darling Wichita State, an undefeated Top 10 team just a week ago, also lost its third straight Saturday, 63-59 to Missouri Valley Conference foe Northern Iowa. That’s not much of a surprise, though. Expect those MVC teams to beat up on each other all season long. It’s what they do. (Apropos of which, Creighton beat Missouri State 77-74 in another big MVC showdown.)

Alas, the team that gave Wichita State the second of its three straight losses — USC — was not able to complete a home sweep of the Washington schools, blowing an 11-point second-half lead and ultimately losing to Wazzu 58-55. Washington State has a damn fine team this season, but still, I’m afraid the Trojans Coug’d this one.

But there is some good news. Notre Dame, playing without the services of alleged pothead Kyle McAlarney, won its 11th straight, 95-66 over Stony Brook. The Irish open Big East play Wednesday against Louisville at the Joyce Center.

Oh, and some more good news: former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison scored a career-high 30 points as he led the Charlotte Bobcats to 113-102 win over the Indiana Pacers.

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