Gonzaga

Season Record36-1
Seed1
Who they’ve beaten

South Dakota State, Northwestern, West Virginia, Xavier

Who’s next

South Carolina — 4/1, 6:09 p.m. ET (CBS)

Players to watch

Nigel Williams-Goss (PG)

Jordan Mathews (G)

Josh Perkins (G)

Johnathan Williams (F)

Przemek Karnowski (C)

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are in the NCAA tournament for the 19th year in a row. They've established themselves over the last two decades as a college basketball powerhouse, even as they've lived in the mid-major West Coast Conference. But every Zags team until this one had fallen short in the regional rounds of the tournament. Mark Few's bunch finally broke through this year, punching a Final Four ticket by beating Xavier in the Elite Eight.

Because Gonzaga doesn't come from a power conference and had suffered so many March disappointments, the program's developed a reputation in some circles as one that can't win the big one. That should be over now. The Bulldogs have been an elite team all season, and they've looked the part during the tournament.

Strengths

Defense. Gonzaga has the most efficient D in the country this season, giving up 0.86 points per possession and just 61 per game. The Bulldogs have a couple of good rim-protectors in 7'0 freshman Zach Collins and 7'1 senior Przemek Karnowski, and they're brutal to score against inside. Guards Nigel Williams-Goss, Josh Perkins, and Jordan Mathews are all athletic defenders, and Gonzaga's perimeter defense is just as good. It's sometimes close to impossible to find open three-pointers against this defense. The entire unit is suffocating.

The offense is great, too. Inside scoring is its greatest strength; the Zags are shooting better than 57 percent on twos, led there by Collins, Karnowski, and Johnathan Williams. They're also good from deep, though.

Weaknesses

Gonzaga is good at pretty much everything. There are no obvious flaws here that could flare up and sink their season – no gory defensive rebounding, no poor jump-shooting, or anything like that. Gonzaga's statistical profile is sparkling.

If there's one thing to worry about, it's that Gonzaga hasn't faced many elite teams playing their best games. The Zags got past a good West Virginia team that plays an elite press defense, but that was on a night when WVU's offense couldn't get anything going. Northwestern and Xavier, though both good teams, aren't Final Four-caliber. The Zags have beaten some great teams this year, but with the exception of the WCC's Saint Mary's, it's been a while.