Gonzaga has been the most polarizing team in the country for the bulk of the 2016-17 college basketball season. Critics have pointed to their lack of competition in the West Coast Conference, while fans and defenders have noted their impressive non-conference victories and, oh yeah, the little fact that they appeared destined to be just the fifth team in the last 40 years to begin a season 30-0.
That defense is no longer on the table.
BYU stormed back from an early 18-2 deficit and stunned the top-ranked Bulldogs on their home court Saturday night. The 79-71 defeat in the regular season finale for both teams dropped Gonzaga to 29-1 heading into next week¡¯s WCC tournament.
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Despite the fact that he was squaring off against Gonzaga¡¯s 7¡¯1 behemoth Przemek Karnowski, BYU big man Eric Mika proved to be the star of stars on Saturday. The sophomore controlled the paint after his team¡¯s slow start, finishing with 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting while also hauling down 11 rebounds. The Zags lost despite getting 19 points from All-American candidate Nigel Williams-Goss.
Jameis Winston has the potential to be a franchise quarterback. Physically, Winston has every tool. But his off-field issues won¡¯t be ignored. Neither will his on-field decision-making. Winston has thrown an alarming number of interceptions this season and seems to start games slow.
After those two, there is a steep dropoff. Michigan State¡¯s Connor Cook has a good combination of tools, though he may return for his senior season. Brett Hundley of UCLA is another player with tools, but struggles from the pocket. Sean Mannion of Oregon State and Bryce Petty of Baylor are traditional pocket passers who don¡¯t wow you in any particular area.
Basically, if your team needs a quarterback, good luck.
Authentic Bill Barber Jersey Missing from this list who could otherwise be in the top five is Utah State¡¯s Chuckie Keeton. The belief is that he¡¯ll be back in college next season and receive a medical redshirt after playing in just three games in 2014.