Busting Brackets

March Madness: Power ranking the Sweet 16 teams left in 2024 NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga v Kansas
Gonzaga v Kansas / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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8. Gonzaga Bulldogs

It wasn’t that long ago when Gonzaga was in serious danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in decades. But ever since they won on the road at Kentucky, the Bulldogs have looked like a Final Four contender… once again.

Their first opponent was McNeese State, who destroyed the Southland Conference and was viewed as an upset threat. However, it wasn’t close from the beginning, with the Bulldogs having a 23-point halftime lead. The final score was an 86-65 win, led by the frontcourt duo of Graham Ike and Anton Watson combining for 29 points and 23 rebounds, with Watson one assist shy of a triple-double himself.

The game against Kansas was viewed as one of the top matchups in the Round of 32. And it looked that way halfway through, with the Jayhawks up 44-43 in a shootout. Yet Gonzaga blew Kansas out of the water in the second half to coast to an 89-68 win. Watson had 21 points to lead all scorers, while Ben Gregg was perfect from the field with 15 points and nine rebounds.

It’s the ninth Sweet 16 appearance for Gonzaga but they face 1-seed Purdue. It’s a rematch of their first-round Maui Invitational game earlier, one in which the Bulldogs led at halftime in the eventual loss. With an improved group, can the Bulldogs find a way to get the upset?