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Game Preview: Zags vs. Pacific

The Tigers arrive for their annual visit to the Kennel.

Pacific v USC Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Gonzaga Bulldogs will welcome the Pacific Tigers to Spokane Thursday night for their first matchup of the season. The Zags will go in looking to continue their run of dominance in the WCC, while the Tigers will look to build off some momentum after a near upset of USC on Tuesday.

Meet the Opponent

Pacific Tigers
7-16 (2-6 WCC), KenPom #272

The Tigers come in off one of their best games of the year, leading much of the game against USC before falling late. They do have a signature win this season, defeating BYU 76-73 in Stockton on January 29. Alphonso Anderson, Jeremiah Bailey, and Luke Avdalovic lead the way offensively, all averaging in double figures under first year head coach Leonard Perry.

What to Watch For

Defending Chet

We’ve seen teams throw myriad defensive schemes at Drew Timme in the past in attempts to slow him and the Zags down. Double teams, triple teams, or sometimes no teams, but he and the Zags have usually figured it out. With Chet Holmgren dominating the way he has recently, he will likely be the focal point of whatever defense the Tigers run. His all around skills and height obviously give him the advantage, but it will be interesting to see how he continues to respond to new approaches by the opposition.

What do the Tigers have to do to compete?

Pacific has defeated one KenPom top 50 team and nearly taken down another, so they have obviously done something right in those games. During their upset of the Cougars, they shot over 40% from three, way up from their season average of 33%. They outrebounded a USC team missing Isaiah Mobley on Tuesday, grabbing five more offensive boards than the Trojans despite not having a starter taller than 6-7. Either way, the Tigers are going to need an anomalous performance such as these if they want any chance to play close tomorrow night.