Sports

A look at Zags’ bracket

Gonzaga will be the No. 11 seed, taking on No. 6 St. John’s in Denver on Thursday in the Southeast bracket. The other side of the bracket has No. 3 Brigham Young facing No. 14 Wofford.

Here’s a look at the four teams:

NO. 11 GONZAGA

Coach: Mark Few

Record: 24-9

Strength: The Bulldogs tend to have an inside-first approach, relying on Robert Sacre, Elias Harris and Sam Dower, who became a force off the bench in the last six weeks.

Season highlight: The Zags overcame a three-game deficit by winning their last eight WCC contests, including an overtime win against Saint Mary’s in Moraga. After sharing the regular-season title with Saint Mary’s, GU defeated the Gaels to win the conference tournament.

Style of play: The key to Gonzaga’s late-season winning streak was solid defense, often limiting opponents to shooting percentages in the 30s.

NO. 6 ST. JOHN’S

Coach: Steve Lavin

Record: 21-11

Strength: Tough, hard-nosed club that is battled-tested in the Big East, which has 11 teams in the NCAA field. Senior Dwight Hardy averaged 23.2 points over last 13 games and 20.4 vs. Top 10 opponents.

Season highlight: Put an end to three-game losing streak by thumping then-No. 3 Duke, 93-78, behind Hardy’s 26 points. That started a late surge by the Red Storm, who finished tied for third in the Big East, 10 spots higher than 2010.

Style of play: Hardy is a handful (59 3-pointers and an 84.3 percent free-throw shooter). St. John’s likes to apply pressure and plays quite a bit of zone defense. The Red Storm rank in the top 15 in turnover margin (plus-3.7).

NO. 3 BYU

Coach: Dave Rose

Record: 30-4

Strength: Player of the Year candidate Jimmer Fredette leads the nation in scoring (28.5 points per game). His range extends to roughly 30 feet and he’s also strong off the dribble. Senior guard Jackson Emery was named the Mountain West Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Season highlight: Fredette poured in a school-record 52 points in BYU’s win over New Mexico in the Mountain West tournament semifinals.

Style of play: The Cougars are just 3-2 since Brandon Davies was suspended late in the regular season for violating the school’s honor code. The 6-foot-9 sophomore averaged 11.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

NO. 14 WOFFORD

Coach: Mike Young

Record: 21-12

Strength: Senior forward Noah Dahlman averages 20.5 points and ranks fourth nationally in field-goal percentage (62.3).

Season highlight: Wofford won its last eight games, including three to claim the Southern Conference tournament championship. Earlier, the Terriers defeated George Mason in overtime and lost to Xavier in triple overtime.

Style of play: The Terriers share the ball (SoCon-leading 15.0 assists per game) and take care of the ball (first in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio, plus 1.2).



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