Gonzaga vs. SMU was ostensibly a matchup between two top 25 teams, but the game lost some of its luster when Mustangs star Markus Kennedy was ruled ineligible for the first semester of the season. Larry Brown's SMU squad is still a talented group out of the American, but Gonzaga showed the Mustangs simply aren't ready to compete against the best teams in the country without Kennedy in the lineup.
That's right: with a 72-56 victory in Spokane, the Zags left little doubt they're among the best teams in college basketball. It's early, of course, but the Zags have the size and shooting to remain near the top of the polls all season.
Perhaps the most notable individual performance in the game came from Gonzaga freshman Domantas Sabonis, son of international basketball legend Arvydas. You don't enter the basketball consciousness with the last name Sabonis without heightened expectations, but Domantas sure seemed to live up to the hype during the Bulldogs' big win.
Sabonis came off the bench to finish as one of three Gonzaga scorers in double-figures. He ended the night with 13 points and nine rebounds on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 shooting from the foul line. He showcased some of those famous family genes with this dunk in the second half:
Gonzaga already has three knock-down three-point shooters in the starting lineup around slasher Byron Wesley and 7-footer Przemek Karnowski. If Sabonis can captain the bench and add rebounding, toughness and athleticism to the second unit, the Zags could be really good by March.
Of course, Gonzaga has always been a great regular season team, just one unable to get past the Sweet 16 in the tournament. The college season is only a couple days old, but it at least appears the Zags have the talent to be a threat all year long.