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Sweet 16 Preview: Gonzaga takes on Xavier in Sacramento

by Tim Lewis, KREM 2 Sports Director


Posted on March 27, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 27 at 2:21 PM

30 second game guide

Bring’em Out: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 between No. 18/14 (AP/Coaches) Gonzaga (29-4) and No. 5/5 Xavier (29-3) at ARCO Arena in Sacramento on Saturday at 8:32pm on ESPN2.

Watch for: The Musketeers to come out with a chip on their shoulder. The Bulldogs ousted Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year (GU beat them 74-59). There would be no better revenge than for the Musketeers to send the Zags home in the Sweet 16. The only problem is, Gonzaga is out to prove they belong with the nation's elite programs. They've already taken down perennial power North Carolina and 2nd seeded Texas A&M (ranked 9th in the country) in this tournament.

Fear: Xavier's twin towers. Ta'Shia Phillips is 6'6" and Amber Harris is 6'5".  The two average more than 30 points and 20 rebounds per game combined. Harris scores 16 points and nine rebounds, while Phillips gets 14 points and 11 boards per contest. The Musketeers also have 6'4" Der-ryka Martin if Phillips or Harris get in foul trouble. That's a serious size advantage figuring the tallest players on GU's roster are just 6'2" .  

Respect: Gonzaga. The women's basketball team has progressively improved over the last few years and this year's team is the best in school history. Four players average double-figures in scoring (Heather Bowman 15.2, Courtney Vandersloot 14.3, Vivian Frieson 12.5, and Katelan Redmon 11.0), but the team gets plenty of production elsewhere (Tiffanie Shives and Kayla Standish both average eight points per contest). With that said, Gonzaga must shoot the ball well from outside on Saturday if they want to win. They'll have a tough time scoring inside against Xavier's bigs.

Random Stuff: Gonzaga and Xavier are both riding 20-game winning streaks (tied for the third longest streak in the country right now). The Musketeers are 5-0 at neutral sites, so they don't appear to be fazed away from Cincinnati (they are also 9-1 on the road this season). Gonzaga is 3-2 at neutral sites, but they also shine on the road (10-2 away from Spokane this year). Both schools take pride in being Jesuit universities.