Gonzaga vs. South Dakota State prediction and game preview, as the No. 1 Bulldogs and No. 16 Jackrabbits face off in the NCAA Tournament.
Is Gonzaga finally ready to take the next step and make the Final Four and compete for the national title? It seems that they are. Earning a No. 1 seed shows that they have been excellent all season. South Dakota State will look to become the first No. 16 seed to beat a top seed in tournament history. Here is a preview of the first round matchup.
Gonzaga vs. South Dakota State Game Preview
Date: Thursday, March 16
Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
The Bulldogs have the depth and balance to make their first Final Four. Five players currently average double figure PPG. They sit in the top 5 in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency and are No. 1 in KenPom’s rankings. The Zags also have a go-to player and POY candidate in Nigel Williams-Goss.
As is the case every year, Gonzaga has rarely been battle tested throughout conference play. The lack of competition makes for a big disadvantage in March, as the team may not know how to respond to adversity.
Gonzaga Bulldogs In-Depth Analysis
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South Dakota State Strengths
Having the nation’s second-leading scorer certainly helps. Mike Daum is a 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore who is averaging 25.3 points per game and hit for 51 on Feb. 18, tying for the most points scored by anyone in the nation this season. What’s more is that he’s efficient. Daum is shooting 51.6 percent from the field, 41.6 percent from 3-point range and 87.1 percent from the free throw line.
South Dakota State Weaknesses
Despite all of Daum’s success, the Jackrabbits are only 18-15 and finished 8-8 during the Summit League regular season before making a run in the conference tournament. They’re averaging 77.6 points but are giving up 77.4 per game and simply rely too heavily on Daum to carry them.
South Dakota Jackrabbits In-Depth Analysis
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Gonzaga vs. South Dakota State By The Numbers
- Scoring Margin – 23.6 (No. 1 nationally)
- Rebound Margin – 7.9 (8)
- TO Margin – 1.1 (113)
- 3PT FG – 38.2% (47)
South Dakota State Statistics
- Scoring Margin – .1 (202)
- Rebound Margin – .8 (162)
- TO Margin – -1.2 (262)
- 3PT FG – 36.3% (117)
Gonzaga vs. South Dakota State Prediction
It seems that every year, there is a lot of talk about a No. 1 seed being the first to lose to a No. 16 seed in tournament history. That won’t happen here, as the Bulldogs are more than able to make a run in this tournament. Gonzaga rolls, and our Campus Insiders co-worker, Gonzaga alumnus Sam Falcone breathes a little easier.
Gonzaga vs. South Dakota State Score Prediction: Gonzaga 95, SDSU 61