NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 Today: 2:10 p.m.: West (5) Creighton vs. (1) Gonzaga, at Hinkle Fieldhouse, CBS; Bulldogs game preview

3/25/2021

Zags aim for 33rd consecutive victory

#1-seed Gonzaga (28-0, 15-0 WCC) vs. #8-seed Creighton (22-8, 14-6 Big East)
SUNDAY, MARCH 28 | 11:10 A.M. PT | HINKLE FIELDHOUSE | INDIANAPOLIS
TELEVISION: CBS
LIVE VIDEO | LIVE STATS

THE TIP OFF
– Top-overall seed Gonzaga will meet fifth-seeded Creighton Sunday in the West Region semifinals of the 2021 NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis, at 11:10 a.m. Pacific Time.
– The Bluejays have won six of the 10 all-time meetings, but GU has won the two meetings since 1977, winning in Spokane in 2017, 91-74, and in 2018 in Omaha, 103-92.
– 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 36-22 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with now 11 trips to the Sweet 16, four trips to the Elite Eight, one Final Four and an appearance in one national championship game. Gonzaga is the only program that has been in the last six Sweet 16s.
– The Bulldogs received a one-seed for the fourth time in program history. They are the top-overall seed for the first time ever. GU is one of only two teams to win its opening-round NCAA Tournament game each of the last 12 tournaments, Kansas is the other at 14.
– Gonzaga is 33-20 in the NCAA Tournament under Mark Few with a berth in all 22 seasons as a head coach.
– 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 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, and the sixth since 1976.
– The Zags’ 32 straight wins (a new program record) dating back to last season is the longest active streak in nation, along with its 11 straight victories on a neutral court.
– Gonzaga has won an NCAA Div. 1 record 25 consecutive games by double-digits, along with 30 out of the last 32.
– GU is first in the nation in scoring offense (92.1), field goal percentage (54.9), two-point percentage (63.6), scoring margin (23.5) and points in the paint (49.5).

SERIES NOTES
– The Bluejays own a 6-4 lead in the series, but the programs have only met twice since 1977. Gonzaga won the most recent meeting in 2018, 103-92, in Omaha. The Zags were unbeaten at 8-0, and No. 1 in the nation. The season before, GU eased to a 91-74 victory in Spokane.
– In the latest meeting in 2018 in Omaha, Zach Norvell Jr. scored 23 of his career-high 28 points in the second half, and top-ranked Gonzaga wiped out an early double-digit deficit and beat Creighton 103-92. Corey Kispert started and played 31 minutes for the Zags, scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds. Damien Jefferson (15 points, 9 rebounds) and Mitch Ballock (9 points) both started for the Bluejays, while Marcus Zegarowski (6 points) and Jacob Epperson (8 points, 4/4 FG) came off of the bench in the game.
– That was the Zags last meeting against a current member from the Big East Conference. GU is 15-17 all-time versus current members of the Big East. Under Mark Few, the Bulldogs are 13-4 against current Big East competition.
– Gonzaga is 4-1 all-time versus current Big East opponents in the NCAA Tournament, winning the latest matchup in the 2017 West Regional Final versus Xavier, 83-59.

SCOUTING THE BLUEJAYS:
– Creighton advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1974 by beating 13th-seeded Ohio, 72-58, Monday. The Bluejays held Ohio to 31.8 percent shooting from the field, including 7-of-30 from behind-the-arc.
– All five CU starters played over 30 minutes and scored in double-figures led by Marcus Zegarowski’s 20 points. Christian Bishop made six of his seven shots from the field, and finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Mitch Ballock added 10 points and dished out five assists.
– Creighton opened the tournament with a 63-62 first round win over 12th-seeded UC Santa Barbara.
– The Bluejays are sixth in the nation in three-pointers made (288) and attempted (788). CU is 20th in threes made per game at 9.6. Creighton’s 474 assists rank ninth in the nation.
– Zegarowski is 20th in the country with 77 made three-pointers at 42.1 percent (13th in the nation).

A ZAG WIN WOULD …
– Extend the nation’s longest active win streak to 33, and would also extend the program record.
– Extend the nation’s longest active neutral-court win streak to 12.
– Improve Corey Kispert’ career record in games he appeared in to 124-10.

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 36-22 all-time in their 22 NCAA Tournament appearances with 11 trips to the Sweet 16, four trips to the Elite Eight, one Final Four and an appearance in one national championship game.
– GU is 33-20 in the NCAA Tournament under Mark Few with a berth in all 22 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 12 tournaments, Kansas is the other at 14.
– The Bulldogs are 27-16 all-time as a single-digit seed, with a 14-2 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.

SWEET 16 ALL OVER AGAIN
– Gonzaga is the only program in the country to appear in each of the last six Sweet 16s.
– Per ESPN stats, the Zags are the fourth program ever to reach six straight Sweet 16s. They join UCLA, Duke, and North Carolina.

JUST HOW HE DREW IT UP
– Drew Timme scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the second round win over Oklahoma.
– He became the first Zag to score 30 or more points with 10 or more rebounds in the program’s tournament history. He also became the first player in the tournament to achieve the feat game since Derrick Williams in 2011.
– Timme is only the fourth player to score 30 points in an NCAA Tournament game.
– His 13 rebounds matched the sixth-most by a Bulldog in an NCAA Tournament game.

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