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Game Preview: Gonzaga vs. Tarleton State

The Zags are back in Spokane for a quick tune-up vs. the Texans.

NCAA Basketball: Good Sam Empire Classic-Gonzaga at Central Michigan Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

After a week that saw three games in five days, including matchups with two of the top five teams in the country, Gonzaga will return to Spokane for a (hopefully) less stressful meeting with Tarleton State. The two teams have never met before, with last year’s meeting cancelled due to COVID issues. No line has been set yet for this game, but the Bulldogs will likely be big favorites on the Draftkings board.

Meet the Opponent

Tarleton State Texans, 1-5, KenPom #196

The Texans come to us out of the WAC, and are in just their second season of Division I competition. TSU has yet to defeat a D-1 opponent this season, but have already given both Stanford and Michigan a run for their money this season. They are led by senior guard Montre Gipson, who led all players with 17 points in the Texans’ eleven point loss to the Wolverines last Wednesday. Gipson is averaging a team high 14.8 points per game and was an All-WAC honorable mention selection last season.

What to Watch For

General Bounceback

While this won’t be the same caliber of opponent as the Zags’ last two games, it will be interesting to see how they bounce back after suffering such a close loss. The Bulldogs absolutely smashed all their competition leading up to the Duke game, so their response will be an important litmus test. There shouldn’t be much doubt that this team will be able to right itself, but it’s always something to keep an eye on.

Foul Trouble and Turnovers

The Zags were saddled with foul trouble for much of the game on Friday. Duke’s athleticism and offensive ability certainly helped create this problem for Gonzaga, but it’s still clear that the Zags shot themselves in the foot at times. The same can be said for their turnovers; the Blue Devils defense was a problem for GU throughout the game. While Tarleton State won’t have the size or skill to pressure the Zags the way Duke did, Mark Few and his staff will most likely be emphasizing execution and discipline on both ends of the floor. This game will be a good tune-up in that regard for the Bulldogs before their matchup with Alabama next Saturday.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.