(3) BYU vs. (11) Gonzaga
(3) BYU Cougars
National Player of the Year award candidate Jimmer Fredette scored 32 points, his 14th 30-plus point performance this season, as BYU advanced to the round of 32 for the second consecutive season. The senior guard has scored at least 20 points in 20 straight games and is averaging 33.5 points per game in his last eight contests. One of the best free throw shooting teams in the country, BYU converted 20-24 tries from the charity stripe, knocking off Wofford, 74-66, despite shooting just .393 (24-61) from the field and .273 (6-22) from behind the arc. Senior forward Logan Magnusson set career-highs in minutes played (26) and rebounds (seven) and his ten points were more than eight better than his season average (1.9 per game). Freshman guard Kyle Collinsworth set a career-high with eleven rebounds.
(11) Gonzaga Bulldogs
Back from the brink of elimination from a post-season berth, the eleventh-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs topped this season’s college basketball darling, St. John’s, to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Coach Mark Few’s team came into the game ranked 21st in the country in rebound margin (5.9) and took it to the Red Storm on the glass, out-rebounding the Johnnies, who were playing without D.J. Kennedy (5.6 rebounds per game this season), 43-20. Junior guard Marquise Carter, who came into the game averaging 5.9 points per game, scored a career-high 24 points for the Bulldogs, who have now won ten straight games. Forward Elias Harris and center Robert Sacre combined to score 24 points and grab 17 boards for the Zags, who have now made three straight appearances in the round of 32 and 13 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.
HOOPSWORLD’s Pick: Gonzaga. Jimmer Fredette’s ability to score the basketball has carried BYU to this point but Gonzaga’s size (GU has nine players 6-5 or taller) and rebounding will be too much for the Cougars.