College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 5, 2013
Mark Few, head coach of the Gonzaga Bulldogs since 1999, has built the program into one of national prominence, routinely dominating the West Coast Conference. This season, he may have one of his best teams ever.
Few's record with the Zags is impressive, going 357–91 (.797) overall and an even better 162–22 (.882) in conference play. The 10th-ranked, 15-1 Bulldogs won their second straight conference game, winning at Santa Clara, 81-74, to remain tied with BYU for the early lead at 2-0 thanks to a career high, 33-point, 10-rebound effort from their outstanding junior forward, Kelly Olynyk.
Olynyk had a nearly flawless game, making 12 of 15 shots from the field, including going 1-for-1 from three-point range and canned seven of eight free throws, displaying a deft shooting touch for a big man. Olynyk, a native of Kamloop, British Columbia, stand's seven feet tall and finds few opposing players who can defend him. He's scored in double figures in all but one of Ganzaga's 16 games.
With three straight road wins under their collective belts, the Bulldogs appear ready for their next big test, a January 10 meeting with traditional conference rival, St. Mary's. It will mark Olynyk's first game as a starter against the Gaels, since he sat out last season.
NOTABLE: Life is tough in the big conferences. There were 16 Top 25 teams in action on Saturday, and five of them suffered defeats at the hands of conference foes.
In the Big East, the carnage was widespread, with #15 Georgetown falling to Marquette, 49-48, Rutgers topping #24 Pitt, 67-62, and #15 Cincinnati losing at home to St. John's, 53-52.
In the Big Ten, the #11 Fighting Illini took down #8 Ohio State, 74-55, while #25 Kansas State prevailed at home, 73-67, over #22 Oklahoma State in Big 12 action.