The Gonzaga vs. Baylor showdown – one of, if not the biggest nonconference matchup in the upcoming college basketball season – has a date and a site.
The two national powers, who agreed in mid-August to a future meeting, will tangle at 10 a.m. Pacific on Dec. 5 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – home floor for former Zag and current Indian Pacers All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis – in Indianapolis.
CBS will televise the contest, which will precede the network’s coverage on an SEC football game.
Both teams rank among the favorites in the national championship chase. The Final Four will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium, less than a mile away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
No fans will be allowed. The game will be part of a controlled environment coordinated by Pacers Sports & Entertainment and Indiana Sports Corporation, in conjunction with the Marion County Health Department’s COVID-19 protocols.
The matchup is a dandy on paper and according to numerous preseason polls. Gonzaga and Baylor are 1-2, in that order, in CBS Sports’ Top 25 and 1 rankings and Andy Katz’s power 36. NBCsports.com has Villanova No. 1, Baylor No. 2 and Gonzaga No. 3.
Gonzaga returns All-American candidate Corey Kispert, Joel Ayayi and Drew Timme and adds the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history. Baylor returns its top three scorers in Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell, as well as Mark Vital, who was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few said two weeks ago that the teams agreed to play when “everybody was talking and wanting to do what was best for college basketball. We kind of volunteered and we had an opening.”
The Zags will likely stop in Indianapolis on their way back home after opening their season in Orlando, Florida. GU is expected to play three games in the Orlando Invitational from Nov. 25-27 before meeting Tennessee, a probable top 15 opponent, on Dec. 2 in the Jimmy V Classic that has been relocated to Orlando from New York City. Baylor faces Rutgers in the second game of the Jimmy V Classic.
Gonzaga and Baylor were expected to be No. 1 seeds in the 2020 NCAA Tournament, but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gonzaga is 5-0 against Baylor, including an 83-71 win in Salt Lake City in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. GU’s Brandon Clarke had 36 points, eight rebounds and five blocks, joining Navy’s David Robinson and LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal as the only players with at least 35 points, five rebounds and five blocks in an NCAA Tournament game.
Kispert is the lone Zag who played in the 2019 tournament game. He scored 16 points. Vital paced Baylor with 17 points and eight boards.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Follow along with the Zags
Subscribe to our Gonzaga Basketball newsletter to stay up with the latest news.