Utah vs. Gonzaga prediction and preview. Who’s Got Next analyzes the NCAA Tournament’s second round matchup between the Utes and Bulldogs.
How they got here
Utah beat No. 14 Fresno State 80-69; Gonzaga beat No. 6 Seton Hall 68-52.
Why Utah will win
If Utah wins, it will all be about center Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl is one of the best big men in the NCAA Tournament, and his ability to dominate the paint makes the Utes a tough out. He had 16 points and 18 rebounds in their first-round win over Fresno State, and he is nearly unstoppable on the low block. The key will be for one of the other Utah forwards, whether it be swingman Jordan Loveridge or power forward Kyle Kuzma, to provide balance inside. Don’t sleep on Utah’s guards, either. Brandon Taylor and Lorenzo Bonam both can fill it up and play tough defense, too.
Why Gonzaga will win
Gonzaga is great in the NCAA Tournament, and this year is no different. The Bulldogs feature a pair of fantastic players in forward Kyle Wiltjer and forward Domantas Sabonis. Wiltjer can score inside and out, he can rebound, and he simply makes opponents work hard to keep him from going off. Sabonis is the complete package — a guy who is as comfortable with his back to the basket as he is facing up. He’s also a great rebounder and passer. The ‘Zags are efficient offensively, and when guard Eric McClellan takes care of the ball, they are tough to beat.
Utah vs. Gonzaga Prediction
This game is going to come down to the battle between Poeltl and Sabonis. Whoever wins that matchup is going to give his team an excellent chance of winning. Wiltjer is an X-factor because of his range, and Gonzaga will come through in a thriller thanks to their passing.
Utah vs. Gonzaga Final Score Prediction: Gonzaga 68, Utah 64