College Basketball Game of the Week: Gonzaga vs. Baylor
Non-conferences games might be the best thing about the college basketball season before March Madness. Every year, teams across the nation begin their seasons playing against teams from other conferences.
What is the beauty of this? Great matchups like the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation battling it out, which typically never happens until the NCAA tournament.
Gonzaga squaring off against Baylor will go down as one of the best games of the year. Both teams have multiple players returning from last year as well as some additional young talent. This game will feature the best offense in the nation (Gonzaga) versus the best defense in the nation (Baylor).
When looking at the top teams in the nation, Gonzaga and Baylor are easily the top two. After them there’s a big drop off, especially with No. 3 Villanova and No. 4 Virginia already losing a game early on.
Gonzaga is led by star returning players Drew Timme and Corey Kispert who are both averaging over 20 points in three games already. Gonzaga’s returning experience is complimented by freshman five-star Jalen Suggs and transfer Andrew Nembhard.
Baylor’s starting five consists of all returning players who played key roles in Baylor’s defense last season. Baylor’s offensive attack is led by Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell. Another key player on Baylor is Mark Vital who is a great blue-collar player for this team.
Both teams are coming off of impressive wins on Wednesday night. Baylor was able to rout Illinois 82-69, holding Ayo Dosunmu to only three points in the first half. Dosunmu finished the game with 18 points, but most of that came when Baylor was leading big.
The Bulldogs have the toughest non-conference schedule to begin the season playing No. 6 Kansas, Auburn, and No. 11 West Virginia. After playing these tough games, the Bears now move on to play the top ranked Bulldogs.
West Virginia played Gonzaga in a close game, but it is notable to mention that Jalen Suggs got injured early on in that matchup, which threw off the momentum for the Bulldogs. They were still able to overcome the adversity and pull off the win.
Gonzaga has so many pieces offensively that will cause too many problems for Baylor. This game could very well be a national championship preview. It will be a dog fight to the end, but the Bulldogs have more players who can put the ball in the basket.
This game is also more important for Gonzaga than it is for Baylor. The West Coast Conference is a weak conference that Gonzaga should have no trouble winning this season. Gonzaga needs to get every non-conference win that they can grab to prove they are the best team in the nation.
Baylor, who plays in the Big 12, will have other opportunities to prove they are one of the best teams in the nation. Even with a loss, Baylor can use their strength of schedule in the Big 12 to rack up some big wins to add to their resume.
Gonzaga’s offense will outperform Baylor’s defense in this matchup. The Bulldogs win this one starting off their season 4-0 proving that they are currently the best team in the nation.
Prediction: Gonzaga 78, Baylor 72
Austin Groft is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism