What you need to know about the Zags before the Madness begins!

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SPOKANE, Wash. — If you haven’t been keeping up with the Zags this year, worry not. We’ve got all you need to know about Gonzaga’s men’s basketball team before the madness:

There’s much to be said about the amazing squad the Bulldogs put together this season. After securing five-star recruit Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga’s been projected to go far since the preseason. Now, the NCAA tournament poses a true test of team chemistry.

Zags Tournament History

The Zags haven’t missed a tourney since 1999, back when Mark Few first took the helm at head coach. Back then, the Bulldogs were considered the “Cinderella” team after making a run to the Elite Eight as the #10 seed. But now, as the No. 1 seed, Gonzaga fans expect the team to make a Final Four run at least, if not win it all.

Gonzaga’s earned the No. 1 seed in the West five times, including their last three tournament appearances. The Bulldogs have made two National Championship appearances, but have never won. They made it to the finals in 2021 but fell short of the trophy to the Baylor Bears. Last year, the team was led by Orlando Magic point guard Jalen Suggs and now-junior Drew Timme, who is looking for revenge this year.

Let’s look at stats

Timme currently leads the team in points with 17.5 buckets per game. The 7-foot freshman Chet Holmgren is the Zags’ top rebounder, averaging 9.6 boards on the season. Holmgren is also fourth in the nation in total blocks (104) and blocks per game (3.6). And point guard Andrew Nembhard is the assists and steals team leader, dishing out 5.7 dimes and swiping away 1.6 possessions per game.

The Bulldogs recently won the West Coast Conference championship, earning them an automatic bid to the tournament. The team was poised to be the first overall seed for quite some time though, as Gonzaga ranked as the best team in college basketball for most of the season. Even after their stunning loss against Saint Mary’s, the team remained #1.

Game time

The men’s team tips off against Georgia State on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. in Portland’s Moda Center. If they win, they’ll go on to play either Memphis or Boise State, both of which should be a good challenge. The championship game isn’t until April 4, which takes place at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

We’ll be providing all sorts of Zag coverage for the big dance, so be sure to follow along for Overtime with the Zags. 

READ: Overtime with the Zags: Get a behind-the-scenes look of Gonzaga’s NCAA Tournament run

READ: Where to get Gonzaga gear

READ: Chet Holmgren named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year finalist