Good evening from San Diego. Gonzaga and Oklahoma State go about their business in different ways and that contrast of styles will be on display when they collide Friday in a round-of-64 game at Viejas Arena.
Lastly, we have a capsule look at GU and OSU below.
8. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Coach: Mark Few
Top scorer: Sam Dower Jr., 15.0
Top rebounder: Dower, 7.1
Keys to victory: The Bulldogs played some of their best basketball at the end of the season, including roughing up Saint Mary’s for the second and third times this season and thumping BYU in the WCC Tournament title game. Gonzaga found a nice balance offensively, with Sam Dower Jr. producing a couple of 20-point games and Gary Bell Jr. and David Stockton posting strong offensive showings. Since Dower’s return to full strength from his late December back injury, Gonzaga has become increasingly more inside oriented. That will remain a major part of the game plan against the Cowboys, who have a smaller frontcourt and limited depth. If the Bulldogs can have success inside, it figures to open things up for GU’s perimeter game. The Bulldogs will need to take care of the ball against OSU’s pressure defense and make good decisions. If they can do that, they’ll get good shots, much as they did a year ago (48% percent FG, 12 3-pointers) in Stillwater in a 69-68 victory.
9. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Coach: Travis Ford
Top scorer: Marcus Smart, 17.8
Top rebounder: Kamari Murphy, 6.2
Keys to victory: The Cowboys rely on a three-guard offense. The threesome of Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and Phil Forte combine for nearly 50 points per game. Of Forte’s 126 field goals, 98 have come behind the 3-point arc. He’s one of six players nationally shooting above 44 percent on 3-pointers. But OSU’s guards score in a variety of ways, from long distance, off the bounce and Smart (170 of 231) and Brown (147 of 192) are frequent visitors to the free-throw line. Add in Le’Bryan Nash, a 6-foot-7 wing who does his damage closer to the basket and the Cowboys have a potent offense that averages 80.3 points per game. The Cowboys have a formula similar Gonzaga’s: holding opponents to 40-percent shooting and generally winning the turnover battle. OSU’s challenge will be dealing with Gonzaga’s interior tandem of Sam Dower Jr. and Przemek Karnowski.