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Game Preview: Gonzaga Bulldogs

The 'Cats take a break from SEC play as they welcome the Gonzaga Bulldogs to Rupp Arena. After a dominant win in Nashville vs. Vandy, Kentucky looks to build on that success and help remind people they can still be national title contenders. A win on Saturday will help that happen.

Throughout the 2010's and the beginning of the 2020's, Gonzaga has been a powerhouse in College Basketball. Earning multiple one-seeds and multiple national championship appearances, Mark Few has had his team at the top for many years. Criticisms that they do not play a hard schedule have not stopped the Zags from putting together some incredible seasons. This year has been different. The struggling Bulldogs are 17-6 (8-2 in the WCC) and are on the brink of losing the regular season WCC title for the first time in 20+ years. So far this season they have losses to Purdue, UConn, Washington, and more. Gonzaga this year just has not been the same team that has dominated for the past 15 years. As they sit on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament, a win at Rupp Arena would help insert them into the field.

The battle between these two programs will have two of the winningest coaches of all-time going at it. John Calipari owns 806 total wins in his career, followed behind by Mark Few's 705. Two legendary team leaders looking to stay dominant. Gonzaga beat Kentucky last season in Spokane, so now the Wildcats look to do it in return in Lexington.

Most Mark Few teams were known for their offensive firepower. This team is not as explosive, but with Mark Few as your coach offense will always be a priority. Gonzaga averages 84.7 points per game which is 15th in the country. They are led in scoring by 6'9 forward Graham Ike who averages 15 points per game, as well as, senior forward Anton Watson who averages 14.8 points per game. Both Ike and Watson are very solid rebounders as they each average about 7 each a game. With the defensive struggles Kentucky's had they will need their big men to step up in a big way if they want to keep the Zags from scoring at a high volume. This game is going to be the type of game where they will play a team that can keep up with them shot-for-shot offensively. They must do what it takes to slow down their opponent.

To win, Kentucky will need to get out in transition and run. Gonzaga plays bigger than most teams so getting out and pushing the ball quickly will help the 'Cats score. They will also need to rebound and play physically. Teams like Gonzaga are full of upperclassmen that are very strong and physical. We need to match that.

As always, Kentucky needs to try to stop the Zags' offense and get better defensively. It should be a great environment at Rupp Arena and it will be a perfect game to bounce back from two home losses in a row. The atmosphere will be another prime-time college basketball environment and fans are expecting a performance.

It will be broadcasted on CBS at 4:00 PM.

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