When No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor face off Saturday within the marquee sport of the school basketball season to this point, it will likely be a rematch of a sport from second spherical of the latest NCAA Match. However there’ll solely be just a few acquainted faces on the courtroom at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis who have been there in Salt Lake Metropolis for the Bulldogs’ 83-71 win over the Bears within the 2019 Huge Dance.
Gonzaga was a No. 1 seed then and has maintained that degree of status, even whereas remaking its roster. Senior ahead Corey Kispert is the one participant who made important contributions within the 2019 sport who nonetheless performs for the Bulldogs. Baylor, in the meantime, has entered the golden age of its program since that loss to the Bulldogs as a No. 9 seed. Jared Butler was a freshman then, whereas Mark Important was a sophomore. Now, they’re the leaders of a workforce that spent 5 weeks at No. 1 final season.
Actually, there’s some controversy over who actually is No. 1 proper now. Whereas the Bulldogs maintain the respect within the AP High 25 ballot, the Bears have a slender edge over Gonzaga within the Coaches Ballot. Fortuitously, the talk is about to be settled on the courtroom in what ought to be a superb early-season showdown.
- When: Saturday, 1 p.m. ET
- The place: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
- TV: CBS | Dwell stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports activities App (Free)
- OTT: CBS Sports activities App (Apple TV, Roku, Hearth TV, Chromecast)
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have spectacular early-season wins over Kansas and West Virginia to their credit score, and so they additionally soundly dispatched a rebuilding Auburn workforce in between. Freshman guard Jalen Suggs has supplied a tantalizing infusion of athleticism and playmaking skill to an offense that would already rating effectively in a wide range of methods. With Suggs and Florida switch Andrew Nembhard within the fold and providing early contributions to go with the returning nucleus of Kispert, Joel Ayayi and Drew Timme, this workforce has 5 top-flight faculty gamers that may very well be standalone stars on just about some other workforce within the nation. This workforce is just not but as deep as final yr’s Gonzaga squad, however it’s oozing expertise.
Baylor: Baylor’s backcourt might be the most effective within the nation with Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell all again after enjoying key roles throughout final yr’s 26-4 season. However the X-factor for the Bears is the defensively versatile ahead Mark Important, who at 6-foot-5 and 230 kilos is the last word utility participant able to guarding practically any opponent. Contributions from switch guard Adam Flagler (Presbyterian) and switch massive Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (UNLV) have additionally been welcome additions up to now this season because the Bears have raced out to a 3-0 begin highlighted by an 82-69 win over Illinois on Wednesday. The query for Baylor is on the entrance line, the place it should discover a approach to match up with Timme, who at 6-foot-10 is Gonzaga’s main scorer up to now. Junior massive man Flo Thamba could have his palms full and might have some assist from Important and Tchamwa Tchatchoua.
Sport prediction, choose
With the confirmed expertise they’ve and the best way have performed early within the season, these groups clearly look like deserving of their prime rankings. However Gonzaga will get the sting due to its benefit within the entrance courtroom with Timme. Anticipate the Bulldogs to win a high-scoring affair. Prediction: Gonzaga 89, Baylor 84