The unpredictability of shooting. Gonzaga makes a higher percentage of its shots than North Carolina and forces opponents to make a lower percentage of theirs. The Zags are in the top six nationally in effective field goal percentage, both on offense and defense. UNC isn’t higher than 77th in either. But the gap’s not really that wide; UNC played harder competition in the regular season. Plus, shooting’s weird. Teams can have great or horrible days without a moment’s notice. Gonzaga’s biggest edges in this game are field goal offense and defense, but those can evaporate immediately.
An athletic wakeup call. Gonzaga has not played a particularly rough tournament slate. That’s not a knock on the Zags, who can only beat who’s in front of them. But it’s been some time since they’ve played a team that runs as fast, jumps as high, and has as much physical strength as the Heels. Gonzaga beat an ultra-athletic Arizona team back in December, but it hasn’t seen a roster like this one in a while.
Playing for a program sponsored by Nike has its perks and this was one of them. Byrant would also talk to Oregon, with the whole thing set up by the shoe giant.
The theme of Bryant’s pep talk was preparation. He told the ‘Zags the only reason to be nervous before the Final Four is if you weren’t prepared. He talked about the mentality it took to win five NBA championships and gave them tips for watching film.
“The way he answered questions seemed like it was from a Cheap Bike Jerseys For Men point where he wasn’t even playing basketball anymore,” Jones said. “He was playing chess.”
In perhaps the most Kobe move of all, he told the players Cheap Basketball Jerseys UK they had to completely strip away any feelings before taking the court in Glendale.
“It’s not about emotions,” Mathews said when recounting Bryant’s advice. “It’s about tactics.”