Gonzaga Basketball
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Gonzaga came out on top of Vendetta’s 2020-21 Preseason Top 25. After an early show of dominance in their nonconference schedule – leading to a 10-0 record – not much has changed. Outside of a five-point December victory over West Virginia, all of Gonzaga’s games have been decided by double digits. In fact, their average game is a 22.7-point win. It’s Gonzaga Basketball versus the field this season. There is a very real chance the Zags enter Selection Sunday undefeated.

So far, the Bulldogs have played five ranked opponents, handily beating pretty much all of them. They are the top-ranked team in both KenPom and the NCAA NET Rankings. Gonzaga boasts a roster that is 2nd in Offensive Efficiency and in the top 20 for Defensive Efficiency.

Gonzaga Basketball Is Super Deep

This may be Mark Few’s most talented team since he began coaching the Gonzaga Basketball program. They are extremely deep and have a lineup full of players that can make opposing defenses miserable.

Corey Kispert, a senior forward, leads the team in scoring at 21.6 points per game. That also ranks in the top 20 nationally. He is knocking down shots at an unbelievably efficient rate, shooting 63.4% from the field, 50% from three, and 87.9% from the free-throw line. His shooting elevates Gonzaga’s offense to elite levels.

Sophomore Drew Timme adds 18.4 points per game on 59.3% from the field. His emergence as a post threat makes Gonzaga extremely difficult to defend. Bringing help defense to Timme on the inside allows him to kick it out to open shooters.

Freshman guard Jalen Suggs, a highly rated prospect and 6’4″ athletic freak, is the primary playmaker for the Bulldogs. He is averaging 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game while shooting 53.8% from the field and 44.4% from three-point range. His excellent season thus far has increased his draft stock, with some calling for Suggs to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Junior guard Joel Ayayi is the fourth option on this team, averaging 12.2 points per game. He is shooting 62.2% from the field and 37.9% from deep. The guard is also the team’s leading rebounder with eight per contest.

Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard, a player who could probably start for most other DI programs, comes off the bench for 9.8 points and 4.7 assists per game. His playmaking ability is such that there is no discernable difference when he subs on for Jalen Suggs. When he plays alongside Suggs, the offense is all the more dynamic.

Gonzaga’s Path to an Undefeated Regular Season

The hardest part of Gonzaga Basketball’s schedule is behind them. There are only two conference opponents who might have an outside shot at beating them this year: St. Mary’s and BYU. St. Mary’s have been less than impressive this season. BYU move the ball well, but they don’t have the three-point shooting that made them such a threat last year. Conference play always promises some interesting games, but the likelihood that the Zags are challenged in the WCC is definitely low.

Now, all the haters who want to say “Gonzaga never plays anyone” can just stop. They’ve played two teams currently ranked in the top 10. They had Baylor – the No. 2 overall team in the country – scheduled before COVID-19 protocols called the game off. This team is legit despite the relatively weak conference they play in.

Don’t be surprised when Gonzaga finishes their season undefeated and makes a deep run in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

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