Gonzaga may be a 1-seed but it seems like it is a team that still has something to prove and with the NCAA Tournament finally here, it gives the Bulldogs the opportunity to hush the naysayers.
Although, there will be no hushing those naysayers in the second round against a lowly 16-seed. If Gonzaga plays its cards right against Southern, it should be a good tuneup for the third round and allow the Bulldogs to get the jitters out.
No. 1 Gonzaga (31-2, 16-0 WCC) vs. No. 16 Southern (23-9, 15-3 SWAC)
Game time: 1:10 p.m.
Winner plays: Saturday vs. Pittsburgh-Wichita State winner
The Southwestern Athletic League Tournament champions have a chance to do what no other 16-seed has ever done: beat a 1-seed. Will they? Highly unlikely.
More than 34 percent of Southern's shots are from three and the Jaguars shoot 36 percent from beyond the arc. This could be why the team's leading rebounder is one of the guards.
Malcolm Miller has not started a single game but averages 15.8 points and six rebounds per contest, collecting of a number of long rebounds. The 6-foot-6 guard is the leading the team in rebounds.
Southern has one rotation player at 6-foot-9 and no player taller than that. Gonzaga's tall and stout frontline could take full advantage of that.
Southern only played one NCAA Tournament team this season and it came in its season opener against Iowa State. It is the Jaguars eighth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2006.
Their only win in the Tournament came in 1993 against Georgia Tech.
Kelly Olynyk has been racking up the awards in the last couple of weeks and rightfully so. The WCC Player of the Year has taken Gonzaga to another level this season and the school has its first 1-seed ever.
Let's not forget everything Olynyk is aloud to do under the basket is in large part due to the attention Elias Harris commands. The pair can play on the post or on the perimeter and give Gonzaga a lethal inside-outside combo.
Harris is averaging a relatively quiet 14.7 points and 7.4 rebounds and was named the WCC Tournament MVP.
Gonzaga remains the third best shooting team in the nation at 50.4 percent but what has been even more impressive has been the Zags defense. They have allowed teams to score more than 60 points twice since Feb. 7.