Gonzaga is consistently considered one of the better teams in college basketball year in and year out. Most college basketball fans view them as a blue blood, but the Bulldogs are missing one thing the four blue bloods have plenty of: a National Championship.
This year, the Zags are by far the best team in all of college basketball. In fact, they have been playing at levels that we haven’t seen in quite a long time. At times, they look like an NBA team. They feature a beautiful offense with unbelievably skilled players that space the floor and move the ball so well around the half-court.
They also exhibit a deadly transition game. After getting a stop, they start the break or move it up the court very cleanly and quickly. They get their head up the court immediately, which catches the defense shorthanded and creates opportunities for an easy bucket.
Gonzaga boasts three potential All-Americans in Jalen Suggs, Drew Timme, and Corey Kispert. All three of these players are current finalists for the John Wooden award as well, which is given to college basketball’s most outstanding player. Jalen Suggs is a guaranteed top 5 pick in 2021 NBA Draft, and is very athletic and explosive. Him and Kispert are one of the most lethal shooting combos in the NCAA, as they can pop a shot from anywhere and hit it with ease. In fact, let’s look at the numbers.
The Bulldogs feature a six-player rotation of Suggs, Kispert, and Timme, as well as Andrew Nembhard, Joel Ayayi, and Anton Watson, that all average over 20 minutes. Their average starting lineup height is 6’6”. Of these six, five are shooting OVER 50% from the field, with Nembhard shooting 48%. On top of that, three of the six are shooting over 60% (Ayayi, Timme, and Kispert) from 3! Corey Kispert is also making nearly one in every two shots with a 48.7% shooting percentage from three as a forward. That is absolutely unreal. Ayayi follows him with a very formidable 37.1%, while Suggs and Nembhard follow him with percentages still over 30%.
The classic argument is that Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference, which is known for being one of the weaker conferences in D-1 basketball. But that is not the case this year.
The Zags already have FOUR AP Top-25 wins with all happening within their first seven games of the season. Per ESPN Stats and Info, Gonzaga is the first team EVER to do this. They out-shot third-ranked Iowa which features the second-best scoring offense (behind Gonzaga) by 11. They put up 102 points on sixth-ranked Kansas, 87 on eleventh-ranked WVU, and 98 on sixteenth-ranked Virginia. Let’s also keep in mind that Virginia is a top-10 defensive team in CBB, and the Zags led by 32 at one point late in the second half.
This is why the idea of them going undefeated through the tournament is not as crazy as it sounds. To keep up with Gonzaga, teams are going to have to shoot at more than an elite level, as well as recover on the transition game defensively and disrupt a very quick and effective half-court offense.
With as deadly as an offense that they wield under the elite coaching of Mark Few, the Bulldogs have every opportunity to finish perfect this season.
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