Final Four Preview: Gonzaga vs. UCLA

The Final Four Is Set. A Recap Of Tuesday’s Action And Lookahead To What’s Next.
Darron Cummings

Gonzaga players celebrate after an Elite 8 game against Southern California in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Indianapolis. Gonzaga won 85-66. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — All season long the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Baylor Bears appeared to be on a collision course, and we are set up to see it in the National Championship game, but the Zags will first need to take care of UCLA.

The Bruins come in as a heavy (14 point) underdog as they are the surprise team in the Final Four.  They had to win a play-in game just to get into the tournament, but they’ve been on a roll ever since.  They have been winning with toughness and good shooting.  Both of those can be matched by Gonzaga.

The Zags destroyed USC in the Elite Eight who honestly posed a bigger threat to Gonzaga than UCLA does.  The Trojans had a pair of 7-footers, one an NBA lottery pick lock, and a zone defense that was different than what Gonzaga sees every day. UCLA has none of that.

You have to look pretty hard to find a way UCLA can beat Gonzaga and to be honest the only one I feel comfortable standing by is Gonzaga has to play poorly.  If the Zags play the way they have all season long, they win.  It’s up to UCLA to make the Zags play poorly and I’m not sure they can do that.

Every team Gonzaga has played has known they need to get Drew Timme in foul trouble to have a chance, and no team has really succeeded.  Give Timme credit for that, he’s smart enough not to fall for things.  UCLA will push him around and give up fouls on their own players to try to draw some against him.  It would be a good tradeoff for the Bruins if it works.

Mark Few says he expects this game to be a rockfight.  What a great description of two teams just playing nasty, physical basketball.  The good news for Gonzaga, a lot of teams have tried to put them in that spot, and they are 30-0.

The Bruins have been underdogs in pretty much every game this tournament, and here they are so don’t count them out completely but it would take an incredible effort for them to hang with the Bulldogs.