If you follow us on Twitter, you know that every once in a while (all the damn time) we get people in our mentions asking us why we cover (yelling at us for covering) Gonzaga.
We’ve been incredibly fortunate in the time that I’ve been here to have such an engaged and continually expanding audience. But with that comes the need to explain ourselves again and again (and again, and again...).
So let’s just do it here, then I can pin it to the top of our Twitter page.
Why do we cover Gonzaga, a consistent basketball powerhouse?
The short answer: Gonzaga is in the West Coast Conference and we cover the West Coast Conference because it is a mid-major league.
The longer answer: We break our coverage down by conferences. We have writers like Harry, who knows the MVC better than anyone, and Will, whose WCC Power Rankings are the best (and maybe only?) in the game. This allows our writers to become experts on a particular subset of Division I college basketball. They know the dynamics of the leagues: the players who fly under the radar, the coaches who always give a good quote, and the fan bases who are fun to annoy on Twitter (shout, Oakland). We feel it’s the best way to serve over 200 fan bases at once.
The inescapable reality is that within some conferences, there are schools that just operate on different levels. Nowhere is this more apparent than the WCC, where Gonzaga invests time and resources into its program that no one else at this level can match.
The Bulldogs already have their own SB Nation blog, Slipper Still Fits, and they do a spectacular job. Seriously, check them out. But it does a disservice to WCC schools like Pacific or Loyola Marymount to ignore their biggest rival and routinely toughest opponent. When Will ranks WCC teams, he should rank them 1-10, not 1-9 while omitting the best team. When we name our all-WCC team, Jock Landale deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Zach Collins. If Gonzaga has a down year, then Saint Mary’s deserves to be recognized as the best out of 10 teams, not the best out of teams 1-4 and 6-10.
On an individual story level, if we are going to write a feature about Eric Mika because he has a cool story, then we should also feel free to write one about Nigel Williams-Goss. And if Gonzaga goes on a run in the NCAA Tournament, we’re not going to just pretend it isn’t happening.
We have had this discussion internally. A lot. And this is where we’ve arrived for now. The college basketball landscape is always changing and we reserve the right to change our minds about this in the future, but for now, this is where we are. By league, it’s all or nothing.