NCAA First Round Game at 9:20 PM: Top-ranked Gonzaga gets another test; athletic, quick Norfolk State ready to upset

3/19/2021

Zags look to extend national best 12th straight win in opening round of tournament

#1-seed Gonzaga (26-0, 15-0 WCC) vs. #16-seed Norfolk State
SATURDAY, MARCH 20 | 6:20 P.M. PT | BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE | INDIANAPOLIS
TELEVISION: TBS
LIVE VIDEO | LIVE STATS

THE TIP OFF
– Gonzaga will meet Norfolk State on Saturday in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis, at 6:20 p.m. Pacific Time. It’s the first-ever meeting between the Zags and Spartans out of Norfolk, Va.
– GU is making its 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 23rd overall. The 22 straight berths to the field is the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas 31 and Michigan State 23).
– The Zags are 34-22 all-time in 21 previous NCAA Tournament appearances with 10 trips to the Sweet 16, four trips to the Elite Eight, one Final Four and an appearance in one national championship game. The Bulldogs receive a one-seed for the fourth time in program history. They are the top-overall seed for the first time ever.
– GU is 31-20 in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Mark Few with a berth in all 21 seasons in his career.
– Corey Kispert was named First Team All-America by the AP, NABC and USBWA. Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme were second team by each outlet.
– GU is the last unbeaten team in the nation, and one of 29 teams in Div. 1 history to end the regular season unbeaten. The Bulldogs are the 20th squad to enter the NCAA Tournament with unblemished records since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939. Gonzaga is the sixth since 1976.
– The Zags’ 30 straight wins (a new program record) dating back to 2019-20 is the longest active streak in nation, along with its 21 straight conference wins.
– Gonzaga has won an NCAA Div. 1 record 23 consecutive games by double-digits, along with 28 out of the last 30.
– GU is first in the nation in scoring offense (92.1), field goal percentage (55.1), two-point percentage (63.9), scoring margin (23.0) and points in the paint (51.2).
– Gonzaga has either won or shared the conference regular season title for a national-best nine straight years, and the Bulldogs won the WCC Tournament for the 19th time.
– The Bulldogs are 13-0 versus Quad 1 and 2 opponents (8-0 versus Quad 1), the best record in the nation.

SERIES NOTES
– This is the first all-time meeting between Gonzaga and Norfolk State.
– The Zags have won all four previous meetings against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponents. (Howard 3-0, Coppin State 1-0)
– GU’s last matchup with a MEAC foe was a 106-69 win over Howard on Nov. 14, 2017, in Spokane.

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS:
– Norfolk State was regular season co-champions of the MEAC and won the conference’s tournament title.
– The Spartans have won seven straight games and nine of their last 10. NSU advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 54-53 win over Appalachian State Thursday in the first four in Bloomington at Assembly Hall.
– Norfolk State’s Jalen Hawkins led all scorers with 24 points off of the bench. He made four of his five three-point attempts. Joe Bryant added 10 points.
– The Spartans shot 34.5 percent from the field, but limited Appalachian State to 25.8 percent, including 6-36 (16.7 percent) from behind-the-arc.
– Three NSU players average double-digit scoring, led by Devante Carter’s 15 points per game. He also leads the team grabbing 5.2 rebounds and dishing out 4.04 assists per game.
– Bryant chips in 11.6 points per game, while Hawkins averages 10.2 points.
– NSU is outscoring its last five opponents 73.2-58.8.

A ZAG WIN WOULD …
– Extend the nation’s longest active win streak to 31, and would also extend the program record.
– Extend the nation’s longest active neutral-court win streak to 10.
– Improve Corey Kispert’ career record in games he appeared in to 121-10.

MILESTONE WATCH
– Corey Kispert recently tied Josh Perkins for fifth in GU history for most career three-pointers. Kispert is currently at 251. Matt Santangelo is fourth at 252.
– Kispert is one win shy of moving to fourth in GU history for most victories in a career (121-10 current career record).
– Kispert is six points from passing Przemek Karnowski for 16th in GU scoring history. (Kispert at 1,490 career points)
– Kispert is averaging 19.2 points per game on 54.4 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from the three, and 89.8 percent from the foul line. No player has averaged 20 PPG on 55/45/90 shooting in D-I in at least 30 years.
– Aaron Cook is five assists from 300 in his career.

NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES
– Gonzaga is making its 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 23rd overall.
– The 22 straight berths to the field is the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas and Michigan State).
The Zags are 34-22 all-time in 21 previous NCAA Tournament appearances with 10 trips to the Sweet 16, four trips to the Elite Eight, one Final Four and an appearance in one national championship game.
– GU is 31-20 in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Mark Few with a berth in all 21 previous seasons of Few’s head coaching career.
– Gonzaga is one of only two teams to win its opening-round NCAA Tournament game each of the last 11 tournaments, Kansas is the other.
– The Bulldogs are 25-16 all-time as a single-digit seed, with a 13-2 record in first round games as a single-digit seed. 
– The Bulldogs received a one-seed for the fourth time in program history, including the third time in the last four NCAA Tournaments. They are the top-overall seed for the first time ever.
– GU plays in Indianapolis in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
– In 2018-19, [1] GU defeated [16] Fairleigh Dickinson and [9] Baylor in Salt Lake City, Utah, advancing to the Sweet 16 in Anaheim, Calif., where it beat [4] Florida State, before falling to [3] Texas Tech in the Elite Eight.

FACT CHECKING
– During Few’s coaching career, his GU teams are 24-7 (.774) as the higher seed, including a 17-3 mark since 2009.
                – 2019: #3 Texas Tech def. #1 Gonzaga
                – 2018: #9 Florida State def. #4 Gonzaga
                – 2013: #9 Wichita State def. #1 Gonzaga
                – 2008: #10 Davidson def. #7 Gonzaga
                – 2005: #6 Texas Tech def. #3 Gonzaga
                – 2004: #10 Nevada def. #2 Gonzaga
                – 2002: #11 Wyoming def. #6 Gonzaga
– Since 2009, the Zags have lost only three games against a lower-seeded team, a span of 11 NCAA Tournaments.
– Few’s teams have also pulled seven upset wins in his 20 previous NCAA Tournaments

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