4 things to watch when Gonzaga faces Memphis
While Gonzaga was able to navigate its 1st round matchup with Georgia State with relative ease in the second half of the game, the team’s next matchup will be more formidable. The Bulldogs will take on #9 Memphis at 6:40 p.m. Saturday. After taking in practice on Wednesday and watching the two teams play Thursday, here are our four things to look for going into this game.
#1 The size, speed and athleticism of Memphis
One of the first things you notice when you see this Tigers team up close is just how big they are. They are a team with the size that Gonzaga has maybe seen once or twice before this season, and the length will be comparable to that of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren.
#2 The press:
The Boise State Broncos found out firsthand just how daunting it is to face the press. Boise State struggled to move the ball up the court all day long and generate a quick offense. It will be an intriguing matchup to watch the athletic guards of Gonzaga go up against the press and see if it won’t free up any space under the basket.
#3 The matchup inside:
With the size and length of Memphis, it will present a challenge to Freshman Chet Holmgren, not only on the defensive side but when he is scoring as well. In games against tournament teams this season, Holmgren is shooting better than 50% from the field, Timme is at 55% during those same games.
#4 The ‘homecourt advantage’:
We’ve heard a lot made about Gonzaga’s close proximity to Portland for the 1st and 2nd rounds of the tournament and how much easier it is for their fans to travel to the games. However just observing the crowd during the game against Georgia State, there were not nearly as many Bulldog fans as expected. Add that with the fact everyone loves to see an upset in March, and you could see all 19,980 fans inside the Moda Center start to turn on the #1 overall seed and turn it into a hostel environment quickly.
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