Following an exceedingly satisfying win over former Big 12/Big Eight foe Missouri, the Oklahoma Sooners now face the task of attempting to shock the world as they face the current top dog in college basketball — the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
No. 8 seed Oklahoma (16-10) vs. No. 1 seed Gonzaga (27-0): Monday, 1:40 p.m. CT at Hinkle Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Live Stream: March Madness Live
Commentary: Carter Blackburn, Deb Antonelli and Lauren Shehadi
Radio: Sooner Sports Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing
Line: Gonzaga -14.5 (as of 2 p.m. CT Sunday)
- Following wins over Kansas, Auburn and West Virginia (OT) to open the season, the Zags had to cancel five consecutive non-conference games due to COVID-19 protocol. This stretch included a would-be matchup with Baylor, which would’ve been a 1-2 showdown at the time. Prior to opening West Coast Conference Play, Gonzaga also picked up non-con wins over Iowa and Virginia.
- In conference play, Gonzaga didn’t have a single single-digit contest, and the Bulldogs capped things off with an 88-78 win over BYU in the WCC Championship game.
- The Zags are led in scoring by 6’7” senior forward Corey Kispert, who is averaging 19.3 PPG and connecting on 45.6 percent of his three point attempts. 6’10” senior center Drew Timme is no slouch himself, tallying 18.4 PPG and leading the team with 7.1 RPG.
- Gonzaga has be No. 1 in the eyes of both the pollsters and the tournament committee for the majority of the season, but it’s also been just as good from the perspective of advanced statistics. The Bulldogs are No. 1 in KenPom’s team efficiency rankings, sitting at No. 1 in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 9 in adjusted defensive efficiency.
- Speaking of KenPom, the Zags are also No. 4 in his adjusted tempo rating, so OU will need to slow things down in order to have a prayer.
Time and time again, this OU team faces a team with a large front line, and we assume going in that the matchup will be terrible. It usually is terrible, but the Sooners have found ways to win these games on a number of occasions. West Virginia comes to mind in this instance, as does Missouri.
Unfortunately, Gonzaga can torch teams from all areas of the floor, and I’m just not seeing a weakness. The one thing that OU has going for it is that it’s as battle-tested as any team in the country. A dog fight could work out in the Sooners’ favor. On the other hand, Gonzaga doesn’t go 27-0 by letting other teams dictate the pace.
Gonzaga 79, Oklahoma 70