Busting Brackets
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Gonzaga Basketball: 3 keys against McNeese Cowboys in 1st round of NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga found their way into the tournament and was rewarded with a tough matchup against a 30 win mid major from the Southland.

March 12, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Anton Watson (22) shoots basketball
March 12, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Anton Watson (22) shoots basketball / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Win The Paint

I mentioned this a little bit already in regards to the post players Graham Ike and Anton Watson but it goes further than that. The Bulldogs are at their best when they are driving to the basket and getting easy looks at the basket. Gonzaga typically gets most of their baskets that way. It is a huge reason why Gonzaga shoots almost 60% from inside the arc and is one of the nations leaders in assists. Winning the paint has been a staple of Gonzaga basketball under coach Few and it has resulted in them winning a ton of games in the regular season and in the NCAA tournament.

McNeese has two dominant players in the post who can dominate on the defensive end as well as hold their own on the offensive end. Looking at the numbers for the Cowboys they hold teams to under 40% shooting and rarely allow teams to even get shots up in the paint. Something is going to have to give for either team. McNeese strength on the defensive end is their ability to make life hard in the paint and Gonzaga’s team strength is their ability to get in the paint and get easy baskets. Winning the Paint is not just about the offensive end either. 

Gonzaga is a good rebounding team and have a lot of depth in the front court and every one of those guys will provide a different look. Watson is a fantastic defender, rebounder, and great around the rim. Ike is just like Watson and provides another guy to box out and stop on the offensive end. They both shoot over 60% from inside the arc. Then Braden Huff comes in and starts hitting threes and shooting over 70% from inside the arc. Huff gets coupled with Benn Gregg who shoots 37% from deep and shoots over 70% from inside the arc. The overall depth is what is going to ultimately separate the two teams. McNeese does not have nearly as much depth in the frontcourt as Gonzaga does. This game is going to be won in the trenches and Gonzaga has the overall advantage there because of their depth and their ability to shoot with a high efficiency all over the floor.