SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga's game against Baylor on Saturday is one of the most anticipated match ups in the country this year. We've selected three story lines you'll want to watch as the game progresses.
NEW SCHOOL VS. OLD SCHOOL
Outside of Corey Kispert, Gonzaga has not shot well from the three point line this year.
As a whole, the team is shooting a measly 29% from behind the arc and only averaging five threes per contest. You take out Corey's nine threes this season, and Gonzaga is shooting 20% from behind the arc. In fact, outside of Corey, the team has only made seven threes.
Thankfully, the squad has been excellent in the paint, averaging 58 points in there through three games.
You're most likely going to see two very different styles of play in this game because, guess what, Baylor has been excellent from three.
They're shooting an outstanding 47% from that range and averaging nearly 12 threes per game. Just to put that in perspective-- On average they are averaging 21 more points per game from three than the Bulldogs are.
Will new school or old school win out? It's going to be fascinating to watch.
REBOUNDING FROM THE PROBLEM
You'd think with Gonzaga's points in the paint stat, they'd be pretty good at rebounding. That simply is not the case.
The Zags are only averaging five more rebounds than their opponents this year. Baylor? They're averaging 15 more rebounds than their opponents.
This becomes even more stark when you look at the Bears offensive rebounding. They have 52 offensive rebounds this year. Gonzaga only has 29.
You may think, well, maybe Baylor has missed more shots? Nope. Gonzaga has made 110 shots to Baylor's 109 in the same amount of games this season and the Bears have only taken 14 more shots than the Zags have overall.
One of Gonzaga's few weaknesses this year is that they don't have a big bodied rebounder down low outside of Oumar Ballo. Ballo has only been averaging 1.7 rebounds per game this season, granted he's not playing a lot of minutes. The Bulldogs may need him to step up in this match up.
Will Baylor's eight players overcome Gonzaga's five?
Yes, Gonzaga has consistently been playing eight guys, but there's a wide gap between the top five and the other three. Corey Kispert and Drew Timme are both averaging over 22 points per game, Joel Ayayi and Jalen Suggs are both hovering around 13 points, and Andrew Nembhard is near 12. However, after that, Oumar Ballo, Anton Watson, and Aaron Cook-- the other three players who are apart of Gonzaga's rotation-- are only averaging between two and three points.
Meanwhile Baylor's eight players are all averaging between six and sixteen points. Gonzaga has very even scoring between its top five. Baylor though has pretty even scoring among its top eight players, including four guys averaging between 13 and 16 points.
We'll find out which method wins out soon enough.
Tune in to KREM at 9:30 AM on Saturday for our Bulldog Madness previewing the game. The show will feature former Zag Rob Sacre on this year's team, former Zag Rem Backamus, who's now a member of Baylor's staff, and several other segments. Gonzaga vs. Baylor tips on KREM at 10 AM.