How to watch Gonzaga vs. Arizona: Game guide, TV schedule, streaming, odds
Gonzaga visits Arizona after falling to the Wildcats in March’s NCAA Tournament.
Arizona knows the formula to defeat the Gonzaga Bulldogs. It’s just a matter of whether they can execute the gameplan eight months after surgically taking apart Mark Few’s team in NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats cooked up an 84-61 win against the Bulldogs in the third round of the 2014 tournament, but it’s a lot harder to imagine Sean Miller’s crew being so far ahead of the fellow West Coast power at this point of this season.
The No. 3 Wildcats lost Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon to the NBA Draft, but they’ve also lost a bit of their fullcourt dominance. Last time around, Arizona blitzed Gonzaga for 21 turnovers, taking the Bulldogs’ size and halfcourt offense away from them by getting into transition. It’s been a grind for the Wildcats so far in 2014-15. While they have continued their defensive excellence, the Wildcats haven’t shown consistency in manufacturing offensive from it.
That plays in the Zags’ hands.
Gonzaga returns point guard Kevin Pangos, guard Gary Bell Jr. and center Przemek Karnowski. It’s added Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer, USC transfer Byron Wesley and freshman big man Domantas Sabonis to the rotation. There’s not a ton of depth, but there’s tons of experience — and talent.
That should be a good test for an Arizona squad led in scoring by freshman Stanley Johnson’s 14.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Like Gonzaga, the Wildcats return several rotation players from a year ago. Senior starting point guard T.J. McConnell, shooting guard Gabe York and center Kaleb Tarczewski are back. Brandon Ashley is healthy after missing most of last season with a foot injury, and sophomore Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has volunteered to come off the bench despite arguably being one of the best two players on the team.
How to watch, listen and stream
Game time: 5:15 p.m. ET
Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network / Sirius 139, XM 197
Online Streaming: Watch ESPN
Rankings and records: Arizona, which is third in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls, enters the showdown Saturday with a 7-0 record and with solid wins against San Diego State and Kansas State, both of which came in the Maui Invitational. The Wildcats are coming off a 91-65 win against Gardner-Webb that required an awakening in the second half. The Zags — No. 9 in the AP Poll and No. 8 in the Coaches — are likewise perfect through seven games and own wins over SMU, Georgia and St. John’s. The Bulldogs are coming off a 76-57 victory against Southeastern Louisiana.
One big matchup
T.J. McConnell vs. Kevin Pangos: These two point guards may not be considered high-level NBA prospects, but it’s hard to find two guards in America who have a better grasp of running a team. Pangos is averaging 12.3 points and 5.9 assists per game to McConnell’s 7.7 points and 6.4 dimes a night. How well the gritty McConnell hounds Pangos, a 46-percent three-point shooter, will determine how much Arizona disrupts the Bulldog offense — and vice versa.