SALT LAKE CITY — Gonzaga now turns their eyes towards their next opponent, Baylor.
Earlier on in the week we did a piece with former Gonzaga walk-on and current Baylor grad assistant Rem Bakamus. At that point, he wasn’t sure yet if he’d be taking on his former alma mater in the tournament because both Baylor and Gonzaga needed to win in order to make that happen. Obviously that happened last night.
Before Baylor’s game last night, and after Gonzaga’s win, Rem gave the Zags high fives in the tunnel, so there’s definitely a lot of love there between Rem and the team.
He told me a few days ago that his first reaction when he saw that the Bears could take on Gonzaga was that he was scared because Gonzaga is that good. We checked in on how he’s feeling today.
“I just had this feeling it was going to shake out like this anyways, so now that it’s actually happening, it’s pretty weird seeing them on the other side but I’m enjoying it,” said Rem. “It’s going to be fun. Those are all my guys so I want to beat them, but at the end of the day I still love them. I haven’t done media in a long time, but Gonzaga continues to make me relevant.”
Another thing he told us in that interview is that he was actually texting fellow Gonzaga walk-on Jack Beach during the selection show, and Beach predicted this matchup was going to happen.
Naturally, we had to talk to Beach about that.
“Called it. We both kind of called it at the same time,” said Beach. “Literally I sent Baylor Syracuse is my guess and then he right after said I agree and it happened about two minutes later.”
“I don’t know, it’s weird,” said Beach of taking on Rem’s squad. “I might have to go over and give him a handshake or something before the game. I don’t know how he’s going to be able to root for either team, but I guess he has to root for Baylor now so good for him I guess. It’s going to be a lot of fun, a lot of trash talk.”
“I knew it was coming,” said Josh Perkins when asked about Rem. “It’s big time. One of my brothers, him and Coach Jackus. Some familiar faces on the opposing side. It’ll be fun. It’ll be fun to see him out there and just hopefully we come out on top tomorrow.”
Okay, but what about the Bears?
Well, they made 16 3’s against Syracuse’s vaunted zone last night so you know that they are certainly capable.
We asked a few of the Zags to give us a scouting report on what to expect of Baylor coming tomorrow afternoon.
“I think they’re a super physical team,” said Geno Crandall. “They’ve got some size and some athletes that we’re going to have to deal with that will be something we haven’t seen lately since WCC started. Obviously we see things that we’re hoping to exploit in what they do defensively and what they do offensively, but obviously a really talented team. Struggled to start the year a little bit so they’ve been on a bit of a roil lately. Winning the first game in the tournament gives people a bunch of confidence so we’ll have to come out and give them our A game or we could find ourselves in trouble.
“They’re a great team that played really well yesterday,” said Killian Tillie. “A really good three-point shooting team, and they’re really good on the glass on the offensive end. The key is going to be to limit their threes and box them out and rebound.”
By the way not only Rem on the opposing bench, but also John Jakus who was the Director of Basketball Operations for Gonzaga during the 2017 national championship game run. He’s now an assistant on Baylor, which the gives the Bears a huge advantage to have someone on staff that knows the inner workings of this Gonzaga squad.