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Gonzaga-Tennessee key matchup: Versatile bigs Grant Williams, Rui Hachimura take center stage

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 8, 2018, 7:59 p.m.

This one is full of great individual duels, but the headliners are Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Tennessee’s Grant Williams, whether they guard each other or not.

There’s wiggle room because even if Hachimura starts on Williams, the Zags often switch on screens. The Volunteers could opt to put 6-foot-11 shot-blocker Kyle Alexander on GU’s top scorer.

Still, containing Hachimura and Williams is probably high on both teams’ scouting reports. The 6-7, 236-pound Williams is a bit undersized, but he has a quick first step and he’s strong enough to create space. He’s been in double figures in 13 straight games dating back to last season. He doesn’t require a lot of shots to put up his points and he’s adept at finding teammates when double-teamed.

Williams was the SEC player of the year last season when he helped a Tennessee squad picked 13th in the preseason poll to a share of the conference title. Three magazines listed Williams on second- or third-team preseason All-America squads this year.

Hachimura also made several preseason All-America teams and he’s emerged as a player of the year candidate.

Tennessee forward Grant Williams passes the ball to Lamonte Turner (right) as Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (left) and Devon Dotson defend during the first half of the Jayhawks’ overtime win on Nov. 23 in New York. (Adam Hunger / Associated Press)
Tennessee forward Grant Williams passes the ball to Lamonte Turner (right) as Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (left) and Devon Dotson defend during the first half of the Jayhawks’ overtime win on Nov. 23 in New York. (Adam Hunger / Associated Press)


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