Feast Week is upon us, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are taking part in one of the more loaded tournaments of the year, beginning their trek to the championship of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
It seems like is has been eons since the last Gonzaga game. The Zags righted the ship against Cal State Bakersfield after a little question mark effort against UT Arlington earlier in the week. Killian Tillie is back, and looking great, so the Zags are finally fully healthy for meat of the non-conference schedule.
Southern Miss is....not sure why they are in the tournament. The Golden Eagles are 2-3 on the year, but those two wins are against non-DI opponents. When facing schools at the same level, Souther Miss is 0-3.
Meet the opponent
Southern Miss Golden Eagles, 2-3, KenPom #226
The Golden Eagles are led by senior forward Boban Jacdomi, who averages 16.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He is anchored down low by senior forward Leonard Harper-Baker, who scores 9.8 points and grabs 9.2 rebounds per game. Although Jacdomi is the only Golden Eagle who is averaging at least 10 points per game, Southern Miss has four players averaging at least nine points per game. This team isn’t exactly and offensive powerhouse, but they can spread the wealth a bit.
Every bit of that offense is going to need to step up, and then some, if the Golden Eagles have any hope of pulling off the win here. Southern Miss’s overall offense is pretty bad, largely because they are one of the worst free throw shooting and three-point shooting teams in the nation. With regards to the free throw shooting, Southern Miss just can’t figure out how to get to the line. Once there, they shoot it at a respectable clip, but this is a team that averages 11 trips to the line per game, a number exaggerated by 21 trips in their last game against William Carey.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for the Golden Eagles, however. They are a pretty solid rebounding team, and one of the better defensive rebounding teams in the nation to start the year. Considering the Zags got outrebounded by Cal State Bakersfield, this will be a nice test for the frontcourt in advance of Seton Hall/Oregon.
What to watch out for
Corey Kispert rights the ship.
There have been some discussions about Corey Kispert, if he is in a funk, what to do, and what to do. The Zags have one more game for Kispert to figure out what in the world is going on before the quality of opponents force Mark Few’s hand. In the last three games, Kispert is averaging 3.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.6 turnovers in 30.3 minutes. He is shooting 12.5 percent from the floor and is 1-of-6 from long range. Slumps happen, but Kispert HAS to figure out how to make his presence worthwhile on the court when the shots aren’t falling. Right now, his output is relative to that of someone playing eight minutes in garbage time—not a starter.
- Time: 4:00 pm PT
- TV: ESPNU
- Radio: Gonzaga IMG Network
- Online: WatchESPN