When it was first announced that Gonzaga would be facing a Davidson team that was in total rebuilding mode in the Battle in Seattle, I came away a little frustrated. After having great games against teams like UConn, Oklahoma St., and Tennessee, it clearly isn't quite as attractive to face a team like Davidson. However, with the gauntlet of a schedule this Gonzaga team has faced, I am now much more receptive of facing this Wildcats team. As must as Gonzaga fans love having the chip on the shoulder approach of facing any team anywhere, the reality it that no team can face such quality opponents every game like the Zags did prior to Augustana. Another factor that I like about this game is the fact that Davidson has a great coach in Bob McKillop. He will test all of the Zags' weaknesses and in doing so, will almost certainly help this team improve.Not surprisingly, this is a struggling Davidson team trying to replace the tremendous production of Stephen Curry. The Wildcats are off to a 2-6 start, although this includes tough losses to teams like Butler, USF (South Florida not the Dons), and Penn St. Leading the way for Davidson is the terrific freshman Jake Cohen. Cohen is averaging 13 points and 5.4 boards, and he is a tremendously versatile guy that can score from all over the court. J.P. Kuhlman is another freshman that is having a great impact, scoring 10.4 points and hitting 43% from behind the arc. The only other guy averaging in double-figures is Will Archambault. The senior forward has done a nice job elevating his game, and is averaging 12.5 points per game.
I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Davidson try to mix in numerous zone defenses in order to try and limit the height difference that Gonzaga will have. As many of our readers have called for all season, I would expect the Zags to play from the inside to the outside, meaning that the offense should run through Elias Harris and Rob Sacre. Both guys will have significant height and strength advantages, and I think both will elevate their games after having some struggles in the past week. If Gonzaga can build a nice early lead, I wouldn't be surprised to see Coach Few and the staff try and get a nice rest for some of the starters, since the huge game against Duke looms in one week.
As harsh as it may sound, I fully expect Gonzaga to win this game by 20+ points if they play and execute at the level that this team is capable of. Davidson doesn't have the athletes to compete with guys like Meech, Manny, and Steven on the perimeter, and doesn't have the height or strength to slow down Elias, Rob, and Kelly in the post. Behind a balanced team effort, the Zags should coast to the 78-55 victory.