Baylor vs Gonzaga Preview

Baylor vs Gonzaga Preview
(Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Top-seeded Gonzaga will go for its fifth consecutive appearance in the Sweet 16 in a Saturday second-round game against ninth-seeded Baylor, which used a 3-point barrage to fend off Syracuse 78-69 on Thursday night.

The Bulldogs looked every bit as a No.1 seed as they dismantled Fairleigh Dickinson Thursday night, 87-49.

Gonzaga (31-3) said they got their heads right after losing 60-47 to Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference tournament title game.

“I thought we kind of let the bad memories of the last time out go and got back to playing the Gonzaga way,” coach Mark Few said. “That team right there is the one I was able to coach all year.”

Gonzaga’s frontcourt will be a tough matchup for Baylor, which possesses toughness but isn’t particularly tall after losing forward Tristan Clark to a season-ending knee injury Jan. 8. The Bears transformed into more of a 3-point shooting team after Clark’s injury.

That was on full display vs. Syracuse as Baylor (20-13) drilled a season-high 16 3-pointers in 34 attempts.

“We knew we had to make shots, and we got good looks,” Bears coach Scott Drew said. “The key for us is playing with joy. When we share that ball and we put others first … we’re in great shape.”

Point guard Makai Mason hit 4 of 10 from 3-point range en route to a team-high 22 points. He has been playing through a foot injury, which seemed to limit him after he scored 16 in the first half. He said after the game he was in a “decent amount” of pain.

“But it doesn’t matter when you step on the court,” he told truTV. “No one is caring about your injuries. You’ve got to give it all you’ve got. Each and every guy did that tonight.”

Mason, a graduate transfer from Yale, thrives on the NCAA tourney stage. He scored 31 in the 2016 first round, leading 12th-seeded Yale to an upset of … Baylor.

It will take more than luck if the Bears are going to pull the upset on the Zags.

Prediction

LINE: -13 Gonzaga

O/U: 148

Dan’s Bet: -13 Gonzaga

Bracket Pick: Gonzaga

Score Prediction: Gonzaga 84 Baylor 64

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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