Come Saturday April 1st at a little after six p.m. the Gonzaga Bulldogs will face the South Carolina Gamecocks in game one of the Final Four.
The Zags are a 6.5 point favorite, but weren’t expected to be here much like the team they are facing.
However, Gonzaga is a team stacked with talent and tough to score on.
Player to Watch
Though many experts would point to Przemek Karnowski as the player to watch and he is a superb player; I have to say that without Nigel Williams-Goss, this team goes no where this year.
Goss has averaged over 50 percent shooting from the field this year as well as over 36 percent from the three point line. He has also averaged five and a half rebounds and five assists with nearly two steals to compliment it all.
Goss has had an up and down tournament scoring 10 or less points in two games, while scoring 20 or more in the other two. He has however, had seven or more rebounds in every game and four assists in three out of four games. As well, Goss has caused two or more steals in three of four games.
Goss might not have the numbers every game to back him as the player to watch, but he is in every way the player Gonzaga will need to step up if they hope to beat a scrappy USC team and either Oregon or UNC in the final both of which are more talented then the Bulldogs.
Defense- The Bulldogs have lived and died by defense quite a lot this season. You can do that though when you only allow 60.9 points a game which ranks second in the West Coast Conference but fifth in the nation.
Gonzaga is tenacious and feisty on defense. They have six players who average close to a steal a game (close being .7 or better) as well as four players with over 100 defensive rebounds and another who is only five short of 100 at 95.
The Bull dogs clearly will not give you many chances for second chance points and they will come after the ball all the way up the floor.
Consistent- All five starters for the Zags average in double figures for points. The Bulldogs as a team also average over 15 assists a game and give up only 11 turnovers on average. They play as a team, no one player will beat you but you will look up and realize your down 12 in a hurry and you don’t even know how or who did it; just ask Xavier.
Why They Will Win
Like Oregon, Gonzaga is a West Coast team and therefore not many people saw a lot of their games this year. This means many people underestimated them throughout this tournament. Teams have as well and now the Bulldogs are in the Final Four, while they are all at home.
Look for Goss and Karnowski to have big games on both ends of the floor and don’t be surprised if the Zags get underestimated a few more times on their way to a national title.
They have the talent, they have the coach and most importantly they play as a team and that is what matters this late in the NCAA Tournament.