NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 Preview: Top-Seeded Gonzaga tackles 4th-Seeded, athletic Arkansas in West Regional tonight at 7:29 PM

3/21/2022

Zags in seventh straight Sweet 16

1-seed Gonzaga (28-3) vs. 4-seed Arkansas (27-8)
THURSDAY, MARCH 24 | 4:09 P.M. | CHASE CENTER | SAN FRANCISCO
TELEVISION: CBS
LIVE VIDEO | LIVE RADIO | LIVE STATS

THE TIP OFF
– Top-seeded Gonzaga squares off with fourth-seeded Arkansas Thursday in the 2022 NCAA Tournament West Regional Semifinals in San Francisco, at 4 p.m. It’s the second all-time meeting, with the Zags winning the only previous matchup in 2013.
– The Zags appear in the seventh straight Sweet 16, the longest active streak in the nation, and third all-time.
– GU is making its 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 24th overall. The 23 straight berths to the field are the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas 32 and Michigan State 24).
– The Zags are 41-23 all-time in the 24 NCAA Tournament appearances with 12 trips to the Sweet 16, five trips to the Elite Eight, two Final Fours and two appearances in the national championship game.
– Gonzaga is the number one overall seed for the second straight season, and second time in program history. The Bulldogs received a one-seed for the fifth time in program history, the third straight tournament, and fourth in the last five tournaments. GU is the first program to receive back-to-back number one overall seeds since Duke in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
– The Zags are 38-21 in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Mark Few with a berth in all 23 seasons.
– GU has the most wins in the NCAA Tournament since 2017, going 17-4, Michigan is next at 14-4. The Bulldogs’ 22 wins in the tournament since 2015 are also the most, with Villanova and North Carolina second at 18 and Duke at 16.
– GU is first in the nation in scoring offense (87.8), scoring margin (21.8), FG percentage (52.6) and defensive rebounds (32.13), second in two-point percentage (61.0), second in FG percentage defense (37.9), third in rebound margin (8.7), assists per game (18.4) and rebounds per game (41.7), fifth in assist-turnover ratio (1.6), sixth in blocked shots per game (5.9).
– Andrew Nembhard is seventh in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.18). Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme are 12th and 17th in the nation shooting 60.9 percent and 59.2 percent from the field. Holmgren is fourth with 115 blocks and fourth averaging 3.71 blocks per game. He’s eighth grabbing 8.03 defensive rebounds per game.
– Timme and Holmgren were named Second Team All-American by Sporting News and the Associated Press, and were named to the Wooden Award National Ballot. Timme was Second Team All-American by the NABC and USBWA, while Holgmren was third team by those outlets. Holmgren is a Malone Award Finalist (nation’s top power forward), Nembhard is a Cousy Finalist (nation’s top point guard), and Timme is an Abdul-Jabbar Finalist (nation’s top center).
– Timme was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, while Chet Holmgren was the Newcomer and Defensive Player of the Year. Timme, Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard earned First Team All-WCC honors.
– GU was 12-3 versus Quad 1 and 2 teams, 10-3 vs. Quad 1, the fourth-most wins in the nation vs. Quad 1 teams.
– The Zags are first in KenPom’s rankings (first offensive efficiency and ninth efficient defense).
– The Bulldogs have won 80 of their last 85 games, and since the start of the 2019-20 season, GU has won a national-best 90 out of their last 96 games. Gonzaga is also 61-4 since the start of 2020-21.

NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES
– Gonzaga is making its 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 24th overall.
– The 23 straight berths to the field are the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas and Michigan State).
The Zags are 41-23 all-time in their 24 NCAA Tournament appearances with 12 trips to the Sweet 16, five trips to the Elite Eight, two Final Fours and two appearances in the national championship game.
– GU is 38-21 in the NCAA Tournament under Mark Few with a berth in all 23 seasons of Few’s head coaching career.
– The Bulldogs have the most wins in the NCAA Tournament since 2017, going 17-4, Michigan is next at 14-4. GU’s 21 wins in the tournament since 2015 is also the most, with Villanova second at 18 and North Carolina third at 17.
– Gonzaga is one of only two teams to win its opening-round NCAA Tournament game each of the last 13 tournaments, Kansas is the other at 15.
– The Bulldogs are 32-17 all-time as a single-digit seed, with a 15-2 record in first round games as a single-digit seed. 
– The Bulldogs received a one-seed for the fifth time in program history, the third straight season, and the fourth time in the last five NCAA Tournaments. GU was projected as a top seed in the 2020 tournament that was cancelled as well.
– The Zags are the top-overall seed for the second straight season, and the second time ever in program history.
– GU plays in San Francisco in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
– In 2020-21, [1] GU defeated [16] Norfolk State and [8] Oklahoma, advancing to the Sweet 16, where it beat [5] Creighton, before defeating [6] Southern California in the Elite Eight and [11] UCLA in the Final Four. The Zags fell to [1] Baylor in the national championships. The entire tournament was held in Indianapolis.

SERIES NOTES
– This is the second all-time meeting between Gonzaga and Arkansas. The Bulldogs won the only other previous meeting, defeating Arkansas, 91-81, in the fifth-place game at the 2013 Maui Invitational. Kevin Pangos scored 34 points and made seven of eight from behind-the-arc for No. 11 GU. Sam Dower Jr. had 19 points and Gary Bell Jr. 13 for the Zags.
– The Bulldogs are 16-10 all-time versus current members from the Southeastern Conference, including a 91-82 loss to Alabama in its latest matchup with the league earlier season in Seattle. Gonzaga has won seven of its last 10 against current SEC opponents.

SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS
– Arkansas beat 12th-seeded New Mexico State in the second round, 53-48, Thursday. JD Notae scored a game-high 18 points and had eight steals for the Razorbacks. Jaylin Williams added 10 points with 15 rebounds. Arkansas made just 27.5 percent from the field, including 3-of-16 from three-point range, but forced 19 turnovers on 12 steals.
– The Razorbacks outlasted 13th-seeded Vermont in the first round last Thursday, 75-71.
– Four Razorbacks average double-digit scoring led by Notae’s 18.4 points per game. He’s dished out a team-best 124 assists and leads Arkansas with 77 steals.
– Stanley Umude (12.0), Au’Diese Toney (10.7) and Williams (10.5) also average double-digit scoring.
– Williams pulls down a team-high 9.8 rebounds per outing.
– Notae earned third team All-American honors by the Associated Press and Sporting News. He was named the USBWA District VII Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC. Williams was also tabbed First Team All-SEC.
– Arkansas rose to No. 10 in the AP Poll this season on Nov. 29, before finishing the regular season at 17.
– The Razorbacks fell to Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament semifinals after earning the four seed.

ON THIS DAY IN ZAG HISTORY
– This is Gonzaga’s first game on March 24 since joining NCAA Div. 1 in 1958-59.

MILESTONE WATCH
– Chet Holmgren’s 115 blocks rank second in program history for most in a season. Brandon Clarke set the record in 2018-19 with 117. Clarke had 99 blocks after 31 games that season, averaging 3.19 per outing.
– Holmgren is two blocks from matching Clarke for sixth for most in a career in program history.
– Rasir Bolton is three steals from 100 in his career.
– Anton Watson is four steals from 100 in his career.
– Timme is at 1,496 points in his career, which is 17th all-time at GU, 12 points from 16th and 14 from 15th.
– Timme just eclipsed 600 rebounds in his career, and is now at 610, which is 14th all-time at Gonzaga.
– Andrew Nembhard is 12 assists from 700 in his career, and one steal from 160.
– Rasir Bolton is 15 assists from 300 in his career.

RIP CITY SWAGGER
– Drew Timme totaled 57 points, while shooting 62.2 percent (23-of-37) in the first and second round wins in Portland. He added 27 rebounds and six assists.
– After scoring 22 of his 32 points in the second half win over Georgia State in the first round, Timme had 21 points in the second half against Memphis. He finished 19-of-27 (70.4 percent) from the field in the second half in the first two rounds.
– Andrew Nembhard had 16 assists and 32 points in the two games in Portland. Eight of his nine made shots from the field were from behind-the-arc.
– Chet Holmgren scored 28 points at 60 percent shooting from the field. He blocked 11 shots and grabbed 26 boards.
– Rasir Bolton averaged 13.5 points at 64.3 percent shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point range.

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.
ELITE FEAT
– GU is one win from its sixth appearance in the Elite Eight.
– The Zags have appeared in the Elite Eight four times in the last six tournaments. (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021)

SECOND ROUND NUGGETS
– Chet Holmgren’s four blocks against Memphis is tied for the sixth-most in an NCAA Tournament game in program history.
– Drew Timme’s 10 made field goals are tied for the fifth-most in a tournament game in GU history. His 14 rebounds are tied for the fifth-most.
– Andrew Nembhard’s five made three-pointers are tied for the sixth-most in the NCAA Tournament all-time at Gonzaga.
– The Zags’ seven turnovers are tied for the third fewest in a tournament game in program history.

A NOTEWORTHY FIRST ROUND
– Drew Timme’s 32 points are the third most in program history in a NCAA tournament game. His 13 made field goals are the second most.
– Andrew Nembhard’s 11 assists were a Gonzaga single game record in the tournament, and third in WCC history.
– Chet Holmgren’s seven blocks were a single game record for the Zags in the NCAA Tournament and a West Coast Conference record, while his 17 rebounds tied Domantas Sabonis’ GU record set against Syracuse in 2016. Bo Kimble owns the WCC record at 18.
– As a team, the Bulldogs’ 54 rebounds and nine blocks were new single game program records. The 36 made field goals and seven turnovers both rank second all-time at GU, while the 93 points and 23 assists are third.   

WHERE THEY STAND NOW
– Drew Timme now has 179 total points in the NCAA tournament, making him the all-time GU leading scorer in the tourney. He has 71 made field goals in the tournament, which also leads GU in tourney all-time.
– Timme moved up to second with 36 made free-throws and 53 attempted free throws. He is now fifth with 66 rebounds.
– Andrew Nembhard has 46 assists in the NCAA Tournament, which is second all-time behind Josh Perkins (57).
– Anton Watson is tied for third in program history with 12 steals in the NCAA Tournament in his career.
– Chet Holmgren is fifth all-time at GU with 11 blocks in the NCAA Tournament.

Tonight’s venue, The Chase Center in San Francisco 2020. By dtstuff9 – https www.flickr.com photos, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

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