College Basketball Game of the Week: No. 16 Alabama vs. No. 3 Gonzaga

Story posted December 2, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew Gelhard

The “Battle in Seattle” will take place in the Climate Pledge Arena located in Seattle, Washington, where the No. 16 Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Two of the top-scoring offenses and shot-blocking defenses in the NCAA will face off in a non-conference matchup on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN 2.

Scouting Alabama

Head coach Nate Oates is in his third year at Alabama and has brought promise to the program. Alabama has brought in two straight top-10 recruiting classes and boasts former All-SEC Freshman Jaden Shackelford and JUCO star Keon Ellis.

Shackleford leads the team with 18 points per game with his ability to be creative driving in the paint and when he gets fouled, he capitalizes as he is shooting 90% on his free throws this season.

Ellis is a player that brings energy to this team and shows off that JUCO grit on and off the floor. His 22-point performance against the Miami Hurricanes contained many moments where he had the fans and his teammates on their feet after something spectacular.

The team averages 85.7 points per game and has had a margin of victory of 25 or more in three of their seven games this season. The Crimson Tide is a team that scores more points in the second half of their games putting pressure on teams to keep up in the remaining minutes of the game.

Scouting Gonzaga

Mark Few and the Bulldogs are coming off a primetime loss to Duke last week and escaped with a win against Tarleton State 64-55.

Freshman phenom Chet Holmgren has been nothing short of spectacular this year with his versatility. Holmgren is shooting 71% percent from the field while grabbing seven rebounds along with a handful of blocks per game. Drew Timme is putting up almost 18 points a game this year with his crafty play that we have come to know.

Many eyes are on Timme and Holmgren but a key player on this team is the sophomore guard Julian Strawther who recently has been dominating the boards for rebounds and has put up 10 or more points in all but two games this year.

The problem with this talented Bulldogs team is the turnover battle as they average 13 turnovers a game. It is hard to win games when you give the ball away that much as they fell to Duke committing 17 turnovers and were almost upset by Tarleton State when they committed 16. 

Prediction:

This game will come down to how Alabama can take advantage of the Gonzaga turnovers. The Bulldogs are a talented team who beat themselves at the end of the day and if the Crimson Tide can take advantage of those turnovers, then this game will come down to the wire.

Although Gonzaga has struggled recently it has still proved that it can match up against the top schools in the nation. This game will give Alabama a taste of what being in the top-25 is like and allow for this team to grow throughout the season with their non-conference schedule being one of the toughest in the nation.

Final Score: Gonzaga 75, Alabama 71   

Matthew Gelhard is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at mgg5264@psu.edu.