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Gonzaga Faces Purdue in Sweet 16 Rematch

Gonzaga Faces Purdue in Sweet 16 Rematch
Sean Young    , ,   -

Gonzaga Faces Purdue in Sweet 16 Rematch

Gonzaga lost to Santa Clara by a point in overtime on January 11. As a result, the team was out of the Top 25 poll for the month since 2016. Also, Gonzaga dropped to an 11-5 record, their worst since 2011. Despite its struggles, the Zags set up a Sweet 16 rematch with the top-seed Purdue.

According to bookie pay per head services experts, Gonzaga will use this game as a yardstick to evaluate its performance after its first-round loss to the Boilermakers (73–63) in the Maui Invitational on November 20. Although the Bulldogs have undoubtedly made strides since their early-season troubles, the real issue is whether those strides are sufficient to demand a different result from the top-seeded Boilermakers.

In their first encounter with Purdue, the Zags were still finding their footing after four years of legendary success with three-time All-American big Drew Timme at the helm of the squad. Despite having All-American Zach Edey back on the team and a national rating of No. 11 in minutes continuity, according to KenPom, Gonzaga’s roster ranked 218th in minutes continuity. Thus, the Bulldogs had to reevaluate their play.

Gonzaga vs. Purdue Sweet 16 Rematch

Gonzaga Faces Purdue in Sweet 16 RematchBetween December 9 and January 11, there was a dreadful 4-4 tie, proving Ike’s point that chemistry could not be built quickly. The Zags won 89-85 at Kentucky on February 10, setting in motion a late-season run that has not slowed down, as they were trying to build a CV worthy of being considered for the NCAA Tournament at-large.

The Zags’ 89-68 second-round victory against fourth-seeded Kansas last weekend was a huge indicator of their progress. With a shocking second-half effort, Gonzaga outscored the Jayhawks 46-24 and sent shockwaves across the bracket as we move into the second weekend of the Big Dance.

The revival has been mainly due to Gonzaga’s veterans. Ike has shot 62.5% from the field and averaged 19.5 points per game in the 11 games played since the game against Kentucky, when he scored 23 points on 11-of-19 shooting. His recent performances have been reminiscent of Timme’s following his injury-plagued 2022–23 season at Wyoming.

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