Zags' Tillie Has Ankle Surgery, Out 'til the New Year
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When the Gonzaga Bulldogs fell short in their quest to make the Final Four in last spring's Big Dance, it wasn't their only setback:
- They couldn't come to an agreement to join the Mountain West Conference, attempting to jump from the West Coast Conference, so
- They forced an agreement with the WCC that formalized the fact that it's their bitch.
Their objective, of course, is to have an opportunity to further boost their NCAA Tournament résumé.
- When every other basketball power gets into their conference play, their strength of schedule goes up, but
- When the Zags start playing the WCC's milquetoast-laden membership -- save for St Mary's and BYU -- theirs goes down.
The higher the tournament seed, then, the better their shot at an extended run, which raises revenues in everything from broadcast payouts to merchandise sales to more alumni donations and stronger enrollment.
After all, the Zags' non-existent football program can only bring in so much.
So, anything that impacts the Bulldogs' non-con fortunes is taken very seriously.
And this is why a key player's pre-season injury at most major programs will bring sighs of at least he'll be ready for conference play, but at Gonzaga, stuff like that creates mega-furrows on brows.
Like French forward and returning starter Killian Tillie's ankle going under the knife.
Dude was valuable last season ...
... and expected to be even more so this season.
- North Carolina,
- Texas A&M
- Tennessee and
- the Maui Invitational
Those two are clicking already, and while the Zags also have a deep bench, Tillie's versatility at the front end of an eight-man rotation was stoking expectations of their being a No 3 seed or better come springtime.
That task is now more challenging.