Someone is going to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
After knocking off Arizona in the Sweet 16, Xavier remains the highest seed in the tournament. They stifled the Wildcats down the stretch, ending the game on a 9-0 run. Gonzaga didn’t have the same dominance in their victory over West Virginia, but the Bulldogs are favored on Saturday to finally break through and advance to the Final Four.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch this Elite Eight matchup:
Gonzaga vs. Xavier Viewing Info
Date: Saturday, March 25, 2017
Start Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: March Madness Live or CBS All Access
Spread: Xavier (+8), per OddsShark.com
Moneyline: Xavier (+315); Gonzaga (-380)
Head-to-Head History: Three meetings since 2006, all won by Gonzaga.
Players to Watch
If you haven’t heard about Trevon Bluiett by now, you clearly haven’t been watching Xavier basketball. Bluiett has been the Musketeer’s leading scorer throughout the tournament, and against Arizona he scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half. Gonzaga will try to match him up with Jonathan Lewis, a 6-9 forward who can keep up with Bluiett athletically.
But Xavier has been anything but a one-man show in this tournament. In fact, Chris Mack has his team scoring 1.2 points per possession, better than any team in the tournament. That means that once Bluiett drives to the basket, expect names like J.P. Macura and Malcolm Bernard waiting to hit open shots.
As good as Xavier has been with the ball, Gonzaga has been better without it. They shut down West Virginia’s offense in the Sweet 16, allowing them to shoot just 26.7 percent from the field. Long and athletic, Gonzaga will have sustained success on the boards against Xavier.
If there’s any concerns for Gonzaga, it’ll be on offense. The Zags managed just 61 points against the press of West Virginia, and they’ll need to keep up with a defense that shut down a high-powered Arizona attack.
An unheralded name that could make a difference for Gonzaga is freshman Zach Collins. The seven-footer doesn’t get a ton of playing time, but he does average nearly four blocks per 40 minutes when he’s on the floor.