Game on! Pilots vs. Zags tonight @ 5pm

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Game on! Pilots vs. Zags tonight @ 5pm

Post by PilotNut on Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:12 am

So the Pilots arrived a bit later than planned... but the game is on in Spokane.

5:00 pm early start time, TV on Fox Sports NW (Comcast Channel 34). Have your computer/radio handy, so you can mute the TV and listen to our broadcast; Heister and Ehlo, the FSN announcers, are really annoying...

So what are your thoughts for the game?

If we can get Raivio, Ito and Smeulders scoring, things should be okay... We need to keep Heytvelt under wraps and not allow Bouldin to go off.

Hopefully Stohl can get some minutes and keep up the contributions.

Arent we due for an upset win?! Very Happy

Thoughts?

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Re: Game on! Pilots vs. Zags tonight @ 5pm

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:29 am

Ugh... so the Pilots landed, but are still at the airport waiting for their bags - it's been nearly an hour already. Way to go, Spokane airport.

So now it looks like they won't be able to do a shoot around.

Not that I expect us to win this game, but jeesh... waiting at the airport for six hours yesterday, getting up at 6 today to try and catch an early flight, waiting again for a few hours until the flight comes, now finally getting there but waiting for bags forever... not really the ideal way to prepare one of the toughest road games of the season.

Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Game on! Pilots vs. Zags tonight @ 5pm

Post by PilotNut on Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:38 am

The Spokane Airport is infamous for how long it takes to get your bags; it always has been... regardless of which airline you take.

It consistently takes longer to get your bags there than even O'Hare or LAX. I have never understood why... its a small airport... the planes arent that far away... but an hour?!?!?! It must be GU folks handling the baggage trucks... Suspect

I guess I hadnt done the time math, but this really does suck to not get a shoot-around in. I wonder if the WCC has guidelines/rules regarding flight delays, etc... we must have been getting close to postponing the game... 5.5 hours to game time, still at the airport... Yuck.

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Re: Game on! Pilots vs. Zags tonight @ 5pm

Post by Rob's Jacket on Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:13 pm

Damn, damn, damn, damn. If the Pilots can, by some miracle of God, pull off a win, Rev should get Coach of the Year.

Who guards Pargo? Ito or Raivio?

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Re: Game on! Pilots vs. Zags tonight @ 5pm

Post by MesaPilot1 on Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:39 pm

Lets just hope they get off to a good start...ie. Fresno State( Large Arena-big hostile crowd), San Diego State, Oregon, Washington etc.... that will help their confidence.

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Re: Game on! Pilots vs. Zags tonight @ 5pm

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:23 pm

Too lazy... cut and paste from the blog:

So the team finally landed in Spokane, but then had to wait at the airport for another hour for their bags to arrive. Jeesh... can anything go right on this trip? I think they've spent a combined 12 of the last 24 hours either in an airport or on a plane. Not exactly the way you want to prepare for one of the season's toughest road games. But hey, it is what it is, and there's no point in whining about it--they are in Spokane now and the game will tip off at 5 PM whether we bellyache all afternoon about it or not. Remember, you can watch the game live on Fox Sports Northwest... and of course it would be wise to have the mute button handy, since the immitable Greg Heister and Craig Ehlo will be calling the game.

So what's the story on this game? Well, as has been true for the past eight years or so, if the Pilots were to pull of this win it would be a pretty monumental upset. This might be especially true this year, since the Pilots are so reliant on young talent and Gonzaga is always an extremely tough place for opponents to play--usually youth+hostile gym=not so great result. (Pretty snazzy arithmetic there, huh? Yeah, I aced the SAT math section.) But I do see a glimmer of a silver lining out there on the distant horizon, and that is the pure and simple fact that this year's incarnation of the Zags seems to be missing something. I've watched several of their games, and while their talent is undeniable (Jeremy Pargo, Austin Daye, Matt Bouldin and Josh Heytvelt all have legit big-time talent) their desire and "teamness" (didn't do so well on the SAT verbal...) is lacking. It's hard to pinpoint and lives off in the wilderness of things like "chemistry" and "fire" and whatever other things Tim McCarver likes to spew about Derek Jeter. (Sorry for the sport synesthesia there, but it seemed apropos. Oh snap! How was that for a SAT vocab word?)

The budget line? The Zags thus far are less than the sum of their parts.

How does this affect the Pilots? Hard to say. Gonzaga "should" beat UP by a goodly margin just based on talent. But can a scrappy little Pilot bunch come in there, knock down some shots, rebound well, and give them a run? I say yes.

The Pilots displayed a nice balanced effort in Friday's 73-63 win over CS-Bakersfield. Taishi Ito had a solid game with 11 points and seven assists (though his 1-6 three point shooting was a bummer) and freshman center Kramer Knutson continued his impressive play of late, dropping 11 points and snagging five boards in only 16 minutes. Freshman gunner Jared Stohl also continues to knock down his shots, scoring nine points on 3-5 three point shooting, and sophomore forward Robin Smeulders has been the UP MVP in 2008, this time narrowly missing a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.

One thing to keep an eye on in this game will be Nik Raivio. I'm sure he'll have some interesting emotions going into the gym where his brother played and that he will be out to prove himself after really struggling with his shot over the past few weeks. I can see him either coming out with a big chip on his shoulder and scoring 20 points or so, or getting a bit too hyped up and having a tough game. Obviously, I'm hoping for the former.

Gonzaga is coming off an eight point loss at No. 1 ranked Memphis, so clearly they were looking past Memphis and thinking about today's game against the Pilots. Never sleep on the top ranked team in the country, I say, but hey... I can't blame them for seeing that great looming Pilot shadow coming at them. Smile

As for match-ups... Matt Bouldin and Austin Daye are the ones I'm especially worried about, since the Pilots really don't have anyone that is big enough at those positions to guard them. I think the coaches are going to have to be pretty creative with their defensive schemes to try and counter them, especially Daye. Heytvelt can do damage, but I think Knutson will be up to the task of guarding him in the paint. But when Josh strays out to the perimeter (he inexplicably became the 6'11' version of Jud Buechler against Memphis) he might cause some problems. Of course, I would be happy if he just decided to bomb away all game. Jeremy Pargo is a great player too and can penetrate seemingly at will. And he's pretty big and strong too, so the job of guarding him will probably fall to Raivio rather than Ito. I don't know though... the Zags just have a tall line-up all around, so maybe I'm overanalyzing the match-ups.

What does UP need to do to win? No. 1 I would say hit their shots. They can't afford to shoot a low percentage in a game like this. This is especially true for the outside - if we can hit threes (and as a team, we are definitely capable of that), we can hang. No. 2 would be rebounding. UP and Gonzaga are statistically the two best rebounding teams in the WCC, so it will be interesting to see if the Pilots can bang with the Zag bigs. If UP can hold their own on the glass and limit Gonzaga's second-chance points, that would be a big step in keeping the game close. No. 3 is defense... some how, some way the Pilots need to prevent Daye from eating them alive with his midrange game and post skill, prevent Pargo from attacking the basket at will, and prevent Bouldin from heating up from the outside. If we do all three of those things, well... I think we can hang in there.

But........ hey, as long as we are competitive and don't get (snow?) blown out of the gym, I'll feel OK about it.

Goooooo Pilots!

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