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Jackson State vs #15 Gonzaga Preview

All I want for Christmas is a W (and Zoom Diallo).

NCAA Basketball: Continental Tire Seattle Tip-Off-Connecticut at Gonzaga Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Five days until Christmas and nine days until San Diego State but Gonzaga first has to finish off Jackson State before all of that. This is the third and final SWAC team to come into the Kennel this season (Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mississippi Valley State). Mo Williams (2009 NBA All-Star and 2016 NBA Champion with the Cleveland Cavaliers), the head coach of the Tigers, looks to upset the Zags in the first ever matchup between the two programs.

Jackson State ranks third in the SWAC with 10.4 offensive rebounds per game while Zeke Cook leads the way with 3.0 ORPG. Keep the Tigers off the glass and the Zags will handle their business.

It would be nice for Gonzaga to get out of their shooting slump before they go up against the Aztecs as well. In their last three matchups, the Zags are 12-54 3PT (22.2 3PT%). This could be a great opportunity for the team as a whole to get back in a shooting groove and get their confidence back up.

Jackson State’s record -

4-7 (L @ Memphis, L @ San Diego, L @ California Baptist, L @ Loyola Marymount, L @ Tulsa, W @ Missouri, L @ Georgetown, W @ Arkansas State, L @ #3 Houston, W vs Howard, W vs North Carolina A&T)

Key stats -

68.6 PPG

79.5 points allowed

41.3 FG%

30.4 3P%

65.8 FT%

35.6 RPG

12.5 APG

7.6 SPG

3.5 BPG

15.3 TO

KenPom rankings -

#255 overall

101.0 adjusted offensive efficiency (#250)

107.5 adjusted defensive efficiency (#238)

Key player to watch for -

Ken Evans Jr. (junior, guard) - 17.6 PPG on 43.2 FG% and 41.9 3PT%, 4.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG

A sniper from deep who you can’t let get comfortable out on the perimeter even for a split second. Although, he has been in a shooting slump similar to what Gonzaga is going through recently. Over the last three games, Evans has scored just 29 points while shooting 8 of 31 from the field (25.8 FG%) and committing 14 turnovers.

With depth being a major issue for the Zags right now, wouldn’t hurt to see Jun Seok Yeo get some time off the bench and match up with Jackson State’s leading scorer. See how much he can handle in the opportunity because there will be times down the road now where you will need to rely on Yeo in big spots.

Jackson State comes to McCarthey Athletic Center on Wednesday at 6 PM PT on ESPN+. The Zags are 5-0 at home to start the 2023-2024 campaign. Keep the streak alive.

Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho