Per their annual pre-Christmas tradition, the Zags are heading to Seattle to play a game in Key Arena, the former home of the Seattle Supersonics (pouring out a forty of Rainier beer in their honor right now) for the 11th installment of the Battle in Seattle.
This year, the game is being marketed with an AC/DC theme because, uh, I'm not sure. My best guess is to add some extra flair to the event, seeing as how the opponent is South Alabama. Last year, the Zags triumphed over Kansas State and prior years have seen other powerhouses like UConn, Oklahoma State and, in the inaugural Battle, they outlasted then third-ranked Missouri in overtime.
Still, it's a good chance for Gonzaga fans on the wetter side of the mountains to see the Zags play. Hell, it's a good chance for even Spokane fans to see the team, seeing as how tough it is to get a ticket into the McCarthey Center and they aren't playing any Spokane Arena games as of late.
So, South Alabama. Let me bring you up to speed, because I doubt there are many Jaguar (that's their mascot) fans in the Inland Northwest.
The Jaguars are 5-4 so far this season. They played Texas close in November and are coming off a three-overtime heartbreaker against Rice. They are lead by senior Augustine Rubit, who is leading the team in scoring (16.7) and rebounding (10 a game)
If you're heading over to Seattle, drive careful over the pass. If not, you can catch the game locally on KHQ or on Root Sports. Tip off is slated for 7 pm.
Now, some other notes.
TALKIN' ABOUT ANGELS
The Zags are going to get some much-needed rebounding help next weekend when Angel Nunez, a 6-8 transfer from Louisville, finally becomes eligible. Nunez transferred after the first semester of last season, so he had to sit out a full year, meaning he'll be able to play after finals wrap up at GU on Friday. Who knows if we'll see Nunez against Kansas State, who the Zags face in Kansas City next weekend, but I'd put money we do.
I've mentioned a few times here that the Zags, despite losing two NBA players last year, are scoring the ball at a nearly unprecedented clip. According to the NCAA, Gonzaga isn't the only team putting the ball in the hoop more frequently. A report released by the NCAA shows scoring in men's college basketball up about 5 and a half points per game over this time last year. Shooting has also improved and turnovers are down. This is all thanks to new, stricter rules that keep defenders from handchecking their opponents. Because of this, free throw are up by five a game over last year and fouls by two a game per team.
I'm all about the increased scoring, but the new rules seem to vary greatly from game to game. Some of these early season games have been marred by whistle after whistle until all star players have fouled out. That Dayton game comes to mind...
And here's perhaps the best Battle in Seattle moment ever.