NCAA Tournament: Gonzaga Q&A with Slipper Still FitsBy Shelly Foster Mar 26, 2017
Sunday's schedule includes a Kentucky-North Carolina matchup in the South Region and an all-SEC showdown between Florida and SC in the East Region. The Bulldogs have been trending with the under as of late, going 6-2 with it over their last eight and 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament. Williams missed a season under NCAA transfer rules and was selected most outstanding player of the West Regional after scoring 19 points against Xavier.
The Bulldogs set a school record for victories with their 30th double-digit win of the season. Sure, it was super fluky, but no one from Xavier will complain about this one.
"Their ability to pass the ball is special", Mack said. We've had some classes that redshirted and stayed together for four years. "Absolutely. I mean, it is". "I desperately want it for everybody who has play at Gonzaga, the players who have been such a huge part of that. This was a culture win and a culture statement".
Then, more impressively, Xavier's J.P. Macura hit a would-be buzzer-beater from inside Xavier's own three-point line - but the shot was waved off after Macura's release was just a hair off (Gonzaga went on to win, 83-59).
The one 3-pointer he did make came with 63 seconds left in the first half when he pulled up from deep on a break, and had a clean, open look. We have developed, our guys have developed, they have really matured. St. Mary's led for a good portion of that game, but Arizona's talent carried them down the stretch.
Xavier played well offensively early to hang with the Bulldogs, giving super fan Bill Murray and the rest of their supporters a glimmer of hope. NWG is shooting just 11-of-39 in the NCAA Tournament, much below his normal mark. The Zags won a close game in the Sweet 16, something everyone questioned if they could do after blowing away all of their regular season competition.
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With Swanigan at 6-9, 250 pounds and averaging 18.5 points and 12.6 rebounds a game , Kansas is sure to run into some issues. They talked to Michigan State's Tom Izzo, then Missouri coach Mike Anderson, Pitt's Jamie Dixon and Butler's Brad Stevens.
"They were just locked in", said Xavier's Trevon Bluiett, who had 10 points.
Dan Dickau, Ronny Turiaf, Austin Daye, David Stockton and Elias Harris - former National Basketball Association players who attended Gonzaga - also shared their feelings about the historic victory for the school with an enrollment of just 7,572.
Sweet 16 hero Jordan Mathews and Josh Perkins (3-4 from 3 in the first half) got the ball rolling on a long distance assault that saw the Zags finish the first half 8-13 from the arc and 12-24 at the end of the game.
"Our defense has gotten us this far all year", Few said. Xavier never challenged thereafter.
"Just being in the Elite Eight and being in a position where we can get to the (program's) first Final Four ever gets everyone super excited. Gonzaga's frontcourt offered a clear advantage against a Musketeer lineup whose tallest player measures in at 6'9".
Gonzaga, which almost went unbeaten this season before dropping its February 25 regular-season finale to BYU, won both the West Coast Conference's regular season and tournament titles on their way to earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
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