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Three keys for No. 1 Gonzaga to beat No. 3 Iowa

The game will air on KREM at 9 a.m. We will air a Bulldog Madness special at 8:30 a.m. to preview the big matchup between two of the best teams in the nation.
Credit: AP
Gonzaga's Corey Kispert (24) celebrates after a teammate scored a 3-point shot against Saint Mary's in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the final of the West Coast Conference men's tournament Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Gonnzaga men's basketball will face one of its toughest opponents on Saturday in the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The Zags are the top ranked team in the country. Iowa is not far behind at No. 3.

This highly anticipated matchup has the makings to be one of the better games in the college basketball regular season. What do the Zags need to do to win? Here are three keys to the game.

HOW IN SHAPE ARE THE ZAGS?

Gonzaga is coming off a 10 day span of no team activities due to positive coronavirus tests on the team.

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said when the team returned to practice a couple of days ago that the team was out of shape and out of sync.

How conditioned will they be on game day? The answer better be they're as close as possible.

To play Gonzaga's style of basketball, you have to be in shape. They're fourth in pace of play in the country and rank in the top 10 in possessions per game.

Part of that pace is the opportunities they create with the fast break points. Through their first three games, Gonzaga has averaged just over 25 points per game because of it.

Iowa players said earlier this week that GU's fast break and transition points are something they want to take away.

Gonzaga's ability to run and gun is a big part of their overall points per game and might decide if they are in it at the end or not.

LIMITING LUKA GARZA

Iowa touts the best player in the nation on their team.

Forward Luka Garza is an absolute monster. He's the nations second leading scorer at 29.2 points per game, but has only played 25 minutes per game so far.

How do you slow him down? Few says you don't, but they might have to find a little something.

Through six games this season, Garza has had two 30 point games and one 40 point game. In two of those games, he had 30 points by halftime.

Albeit, it wasn't against top competition like Gonzaga, but you see the potential.

The 6'11 big man is also averaging 68.4 percent from three-point range.

IOWA'S OFFENSE AS A WHOLE

That leads into the next point.

The Hawkeyes lead the nation in points per game at a little over 100. They're the only team in D-I basketball averaging triple digits in scoring per game.

A big reason why is because they shoot a lot of three pointers. Iowa averages about 12 made threes a game. For perspective, Gonzaga is averaging just five made threes a game.

Iowa's Joe Wieskamp is a guy to watch from downtown.

The Zags will need a counter punch.

So far, Gonzaga's best defense has been their offense. They aren't slouches when it comes to scoring, averaging 93 points per game, which ranks eighth in the country. That's all been against major conference teams from the Big 12 and SEC too. 

Gonzaga has put up a lot of points, but they also give up a lot of points.

Can they find a way to slow down Iowa's offensive production or will they have to outscore Iowa to win?

They have to be in good shape either way to get the dub.

GAME INFO

Gonzaga and Iowa will face off at 9 a.m. on KREM. Before the game, we will air a Bulldog Madness special at 8:30 a.m. previewing everything you need to know before the game.