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Gonzaga vs. Creighton in the Sweet 16: What you need to know ahead of the game

Gonzaga is making its sixth-straight Sweet 16 appearance and they'll do so against another Jesuit school. This is your guide to the big game.

INDIANAPOLIS — Gonzaga men's basketball will face off against Creighton in the Sweet 16 on Sunday.

The Bulldogs will play in their sixth-straight Sweet 16. This is Creighton's first Sweet 16 appearance since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Here's a breakdown of what you need to know for this game between the two Jesuit schools.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Both teams spoke to reporters this week ahead of the matchup.

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and Creighton head coach Greg McDermott represented their teams.

Few noted Creighton's offensive scheme.

"They’re an absolute elite, I mean elite, offensive team year in and year out," he said. "Greg’s brilliant with his offensive schemes. They have tremendous skill and now they have some real athleticism rolling to the rim and they’re experienced."

McDermott also pointed out Gonzaga's offense as a problem.

"I think this team is one of the best passing college basketball teams I've seen," he said. "If you make a mistake, they'll make you pay for it with the pass. They're fun to watch, and as someone who appreciates good basketball, as you watch more games on film it's enjoyable to watch. It's the way basketball is supposed to be played."

KEYS TO THE GAME

We all know that Gonzaga has great offense. They have the highest field goal percentage in the country at 54.9%. 

The matchup to watch is Creighton's good defense. The Bluejays rank No. 25 in the nation in defensive field goal percentage at 40.2%.

The Bulldogs have only been held under 50% field goal percentage four games this season. The lowest being 49% in their last game against Oklahoma. In each of those games, the Zags have scored at least 86 points.

The Bulldogs have played some good defensive teams but none of them have been allowing that low of a field goal percentage. Their offense is historic, and even if you do bring their field goal percentage down, they still keep wining games by double digits while scoring a lot of points.

Another interesting part of this puzzle and advantage for Gonzaga is that Creighton isn't a great rebounding team and their starting five is pretty small.

It matters because defensive rebounding can be an issue at times for the Zags because they aren't that big either. They've said it themselves that they want to be cleaner in that area.

However, they might not have to worry about it that much in this game..

Creighton ranks No. 266 in the nation in offensive rebounding, which means not many second chance points. That could have to do a lot with the fact the tallest guy in Creighton's starting lineup is 6-foot-7 forward Christian Bishop.

If there is one equalizer against Gonzaga for how good they are on offense and defense, it's those offensive rebounds. If Gonzaga limits Creighton to one shot per possession, which the stats show could very well happen, that's a major plus for the Bulldogs.

SERIES HISTORY

These two teams have squared off 10 times. Creighton has won six of those games. Gonzaga has won the last two contests in 2017 and 2018.

The two schools have never played each other in the NCAA Tournament.

WHO IS FAVORED TO WIN

Gonzaga is a 13 point favorite over Creighton in this game. If Gonzaga were to win by double digits, they'd extend their NCAA record of consecutive double digit wins to 26.

GAME TIME

Gonzaga and Creighton will play in the Sweet 16 on Sunday, March 28 at 11:10 a.m. The game will air on KREM 2.