3. Big shooting game from Ryan Nembhard
There might not be a bigger X-factor in this game than the former Creighton starter. On the season, Nembhard is averaging 12.0 ppg and 5.4 apg, which aren’t bad numbers on their own. The issue has been the efficiency from the field, shooting 40% from the field and an awful 17% from deep.
6/35 is a large enough sample size for Gonzaga fans to be concerned. As a team, the Bulldogs are just at 32%, ranking in the bottom third nationally in the shooting categories. If it wasn’t for the big men off the bench (Braden Huff and Ben Gregg), this team would rank near the bottom when it comes to shooting.
In Nembhard’s defense, he’s having to do everything in the important games. He plays all 40 minutes and not only has to run the offense but also play solid enough defense without ever getting into foul trouble since Hickman is the only other ball-handler on the roster.
Just like how Gonzaga is going to focus on LeDee to win, San Diego State is going to try and shut down Nembhard. If he has a good game, the Bulldogs should be in good shape. A bad game from him makes them primed to be upset at home.