No. 11 Gonzaga upset No. 6 Seton Hall in the first round in a decisive manner and will be looking to once again surprise a higher-seeded team on Saturday. This time around, however, they will go against a much stronger opponent. Utah, fresh off a solid win over Fresno State, is hoping to repeat and potentially improve on their Sweet 16 appearance from last season on the shoulders of Pac-12 Player of the Year and potential NBA lottery pick Jakob Poeltl.
The Austrian center had 16 points and 18 rebounds in the first round, four more than the entire Fresno State team combined. He simply dominated the paint while Jordan Loveridge rained fire from beyond the arc, connecting on four of his eight attempts. That combination of inside and outside scoring made the Utes one of the best offensive teams in the country and could power a deep tournament run.
The Bulldogs hang their hat on defense and will have to be sharp on that end in order to prevent Utah from running away with this one. Domantas Sabonis will be in charge of keeping Poeltl in check, but it will take a team effort to keep him off of the offensive glass. Kyle Wiltjer, meanwhile, will need to have a bounce back game after struggling from the field against Seton Hall and anchor the offense while Sabonis focuses his efforts on the other end.
The battle of the star big men could largely determine the outcome of the game. If Poeltl can continue to dominate the paint on both ends thanks to his size, the Utes' offense should take care of the rest. If Sabonis, one of the toughest tests the seven-footer has encountered so far, can match his production, the Bulldogs could stay within striking distance and potentially eliminate Utah much earlier than many expect.
How to watch No. 4 Utah vs. No. 11 Gonzaga
Time: 8:40 p.m. ET
Place: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colo.
Online: Watch TNT
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Watch No. 11 Northern Iowa stun No. 6 Texas with this amazing buzzer beater from half court
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