2 Gonzaga Bulldogs (33-2) vs. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes (22-11)
Sunday, March 22, 4:10 p.m. Pacific
Gonzaga advanced with a 86-76 victory over 15 seed North Dakota State while Iowa demolished Davidson 83-52 in the round of 64.
The Zags' offensive attack, led by Wooden Award finalist Kyle Wiltjer, face the toughest defensive they've seen since playing Arizona in December. Iowa holds opponents to just 0.93 points per possession and gives up a meager 61.6 points per game.
Height is a big advantage for the Hawkeyes. At the five spot Iowa trots out Adam Woodbury, an eye poker extraordinaire, and his reserve Gabriel Olaseni who stand seven-foot-one and six-foot-ten respectively. It's not just in the post that the Hawkeyes are towering. Aside from guards Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons, who are both six-foot-two, the Hawkeyes only play guys six-foot-five and taller.
That advantage won't mean too much against Gonzaga. The Zags have three bigs in Domantas Sabonis, Kyle Wiltjer and Przemek Karnowski who are a tall, athletic and skilled. On the wing Byron Wesley and Kyle Dranginis are both six-foot-five. The Zags' average height is just eight tenths of an inch less than Iowa's.
Gonzaga is a clear step ahead of Iowa in offense. The Zags boast the best field goal percentage in college basketball (52.4%) while Iowa ranks 202nd at 43%.
Despite the Hawkeyes' poor shooting they've managed to be one of the more efficient teams in the country, 29th in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency rankings. Woodbury and Olaseni have a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds and allowing the poor-shooting Hawkeyes multiple looks at the basket.
The Zags have outrebounded their opponents in 30 of their 35 games this season, and will likely need to do the same on Sunday if they want to advance out of the first weekend for the first time since 2009.