No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 8 Northwestern preview: Game time, broadcast, betting line, prediction
The Gonzaga Bulldogs (33-1) are the No. 1 seed in the East Region, and will take on No. 8 seed Northwestern (24-11). The game will be played at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 18.
Preview: Gonzaga handled South Dakota State 66-46 on Thursday afternoon, but things didn't go too smoothly for the Zags in the first half. Mark Few's team entered the break up just 26-22, but outscored the Jackrabbits 40-24 in the second half to cruise to victory. Guard Jordan Mathews scored 16 points in the win.
— NU Men's Basketball (@NUMensBball) March 16, 2017
Northwestern, in its first NCAA Tournament game ever, was part of the most dramatic game of the day. The Wildcats jumped on Vanderbilt, but allowed the Commodores to come all the way back, and eventually take a one-point lead with under 20 second left to play. That's when Vandy's Matthew Fisher-Davis had a Chris Webber moment, fouling 87-percent free throw shooter Bryant McIntosh thinking his team was down, and not up, a point. McIntosh hit both free throws, and Northwestern took home a 68-66 win. McIntosh was the hero for the Wildcats, scoring 25 points in the historic victory.
Date: Saturday, March 18
Time: 5:15 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT
Announcers: Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl
Opening Betting Line: Gonzaga -10.5, via OddsShark
According to College Basketball Reference, this will be the first match-up between Gonzaga and Northwestern basketball.
Gonzaga is looking for a third straight Sweet 16 berth, and an eighth trip to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament overall. Last season, the Zags advanced to the Elite Eight. The team has never broken through to the Final Four.
Since Thursday's game was Northwestern's first in the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats are now the only undefeated team in tourney history.
Prediction: Unfortunately for our many, many Northwestern colleagues in sports media, the Wildcats' run will end on Saturday. This may be the best team that Few has had at Gonzaga, and while we're not sure it will be the one to make the first Final Four run, it is good enough to get by Northwestern. Gonzaga wins this one by double digits.
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