No. 1 Gonzaga vs No. 16 Virginia: 5 storylines for major matchup

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Virginia Cavaliers David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga and Virginia meet up on a neutral court Saturday in order to give college basketball fans an extra day of holiday joy.

The AP Poll will say that this is No.16 Virginia Basketball versus No.1 Gonzaga Basketball, but that is simply due to Virginia’s surprise loss to San Francisco. A loss that was due, in no small part, to the Cavaliers shooting 42 percent from the field. Since that loss, the Cavaliers have won three straight to improve their record to 4-1. As well, the Cavaliers have shot better than 50 percent from the field, since that setback, while holding opponents to under 52 points per game.

Gonzaga has taken a different journey over its four weeks as the highest-ranked team in the nation. Mark Few has used the unique scheduling opportunity, in a unique basketball season, to play and defeat three Sweet Sixteen caliber teams, and Gonzaga looks primed to make Virginia the fourth within a month’s time. Already the owners of a 6-0 record, the Bulldogs will play two additional non-conference games prior to putting the year 2020 behind them.

To comprehend the true essence of this match-up one needs to disregard the AP Poll and appreciate the fact that this game will feature the best offense versus the best defense among the title contenders. As both teams are healthy, this will provide an opportunity to be able to place Virginia accordingly. For Gonzaga has proven, thus far, they deserve to be considered the best team in the country.

With key match-ups in the backcourt as well as the frontcourt, head coaches Tony Bennett and Mark Few will play an important part in how the ending of this story is written. Regardless of the outcome, the game will provide talking points to not only compare Virginia and Gonzaga but to be able to compare Virginia to the other top teams Gonzaga has beaten.

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