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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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Three Point Line

This may be a huge one because for as good as Gonzaga is getting into the paint when they can make their threes everything is so much easier for them. The Bulldogs don’t shoot a large volume of threes and they don’t make all that many of them either. I have mentioned a lot that this is a different Gonzaga team that we have become accustomed to but they are still good enough to win games. Nolan Hickman and Ben Gregg are the two best three point shooters. Hickman shoots over 40% and Gregg shoots 37% as mentioned above. Those two guys are going to get their shots up and will make them but its the other guys who don’t take a large volume that are going to have make them. 

Anton Watson, Graham Ike, and Dusty Stromer are all very capable of making threes and if they start hitting shots it will be a good night for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are going to get open threes against McNeese, they pack the paint and make scoring inside hard but will give up looks from deep and some of them may be wide open. Make them and force McNeese to pull their defense out to open up the driving lanes in the paint. If the Bulldogs have a bad shooting night it is going to play right into what McNeese is trying to do. What about on the defensive end of the floor?

Next. Top 20 players from West Region of NCAAT. Top 20 players from West Region of NCAAT. dark

McNeese doesn’t take that many threes either but they shoot the ball at a great percentage from deep. The Cowboys have 5 guys who all shoot over 40% from deep and if they get going they can extend a lead quickly. Guarding the three-point line for both teams is extremely important. This is a tough matchup for Gonzaga and if they can win their matchups in the paint and have their shooters make shots they should win comfortably. If that doesn’t happen then it is going to be uncomfortable for everyone rooting for the Bulldogs.