Busting Brackets

Gonzaga Basketball: 3 keys to getting a must-win game at Kentucky Wildcats

Gonzaga v USC
Gonzaga v USC / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
2 of 4

1. Make some three-pointers against a good team

It was the best shooting performance of the season in the last game against Portland, making 15/33 from three-point range. But shooting against bad teams hasn’t been an issue for them. It’s been against top-100 opponents that’s been the problem. 

In the loss to Saint Mary’s, the Bulldogs went just 3/14 from deep. It was even worse against Santa Clara, with Gonzaga making just 2/20 in that defeat. Going 7/21 from three-point range in the close home against San Francisco is the best example of them being able to shoot. And except for the late free throw issues, the Bulldogs were up by 15+ at one point in the second half.

Kentucky hasn’t been great at three-point defense this season. They rank toward the bottom nationally in allowed makes and attempts, with teams taking nearly 30 shots from deep versus them. So there will be opportunities for the Bulldogs to hoist some shots.

But who will take them? Nolan Hickman is the best pure shooter at 38%, while forwards Ben Gregg and Braden Huff are the next best. Ryan Nembhard has improved after an awful shooting start to the season but is still just at 31% to this point. If he can make some shots and stretch the floor, the Bulldogs will have a chance.