Iowa’s Luka Garza, the CBS Sports activities Preseason Nationwide Participant of the 12 months, took 18 pictures, made 13 of them and completed with 30 factors and 10 rebounds. Gonzaga’s high two scorers, Drew Timme and Corey Kispert, each fouled out. And if that is all you knew about Saturday’s showdown between the groups ranked first and third within the Related Press Prime 25 ballot, there is not any approach you’d precisely guess the end result.
Here is the end result: No. 1 Gonzaga 99, No. 3 Iowa 88.
In different phrases, Iowa obtained an incredible efficiency from its All-American, fouled out Gonzaga’s high two scorers, and nonetheless could not keep inside single digits of the favourite to win the nationwide title. That is how loaded the Zags are this season. They’ve 1,000,000 completely different gamers who can beat you 1,000,000 other ways.
“They have a whole lot of weapons,” stated Iowa coach Fran McCaffery.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few entered the weekend with actual issues about how his gamers would reply after not enjoying a regular-season recreation for 17 days due to COVID-19 points throughout the program. They’d barely practiced since their high-profile recreation towards No. 2 Baylor was canceled on Dec. 5. And after they did apply, Few stated, they regarded out of rhythm and fatigued.
You could not inform Saturday, although.
Gonzaga, mainly from the opening tip till the ultimate horn, was flying up and down the courtroom, excelling in transition and exposing Iowa’s super-questionable protection as the kind of factor that might maintain the Hawkeyes from making the Ultimate 4 even with the nation’s top-ranked offense. The Zags shot 51.4% from the sector, together with 50.0% from 3-point vary. They obtained a 27-point effort from Jalen Suggs, the five-star guard who’s the highest-ranked recruit to ever enroll at Gonzaga. They obtained an 18-rebound effort from Joel Ayayi, the junior guard who’s averaging 10.3 boards per recreation regardless of standing simply 6-foot-5.
“I am immensely pleased with how my guys responded,” Few stated. “It was a troublesome two weeks of not doing an entire heckuva lot. [But this performance against Iowa] exhibits their really feel for the sport, their basketball intelligence, and in addition simply how a lot they like enjoying collectively.”
The Zags have three extra non-league video games on the schedule — two purchase video games towards Northwestern State and Dixie State that venture as whole blowouts, and, in between, subsequent Saturday’s lately made matchup with Seventeenth-ranked Virginia at Dickies Enviornment in Fort Value, Texas. In the event that they win these, they will enter West Coast Convention play with a 7-0 report that includes victories over the groups at the moment ranked No. 3 (Iowa), No. 5 (Kansas), No. 8 (West Virginia) and No. 17 (Virginia) within the AP Prime 25 ballot, they usually’ll have zero remaining regular-season video games towards anyone at the moment within the high 50 at KenPom.
And what that will imply, do not you?
Yep, it might imply that Gonzaga would cease being talked about as simply the favourite to win the nationwide title and begin being mentioned as a official candidate to change into the primary undefeated nationwide champion since Indiana in 1976. And, at that time, it might neither be a untimely nor inappropriate dialog.
The Zags are that good.
They’re wonderful in practically each approach.
There’s not one other staff within the nation that might lose its high two scorers to fouls, each of them lowered to simply 25 minutes on the courtroom, and nonetheless beat a top-five opponent by double-digits. However that is precisely what Gonzaga did on this Saturday in December. And if Gonzaga can do this to Iowa on this Saturday in December, there is not any motive to suppose the Zags aren’t able to doing one thing much like any person on the primary Monday in April.