It’s another long off-season, and as the NBA Draft looms large above the minds of many young men, there is one in particular to whom it doesn’t. Kyle Wiltjer, from Gonzaga, has decided to return for his fourth season of college basketball. He was a redshirt freshman at the University of Kentucky before deciding to transfer to Gonzaga one year ago, which has proved to be a fruitful decision as the Zags had a great year with him and Kevin Pangos leading the way. Next year will be a different story, as always, and I think it’ll be a good one for Wiltjer.
With a lot of focus on the guys who are entering the NBA draft, we take a look at the five guys to watch for the next college basketball season.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs look to take on the UCLA Bruins tonight in the Sweet 16. This comes nine years after the infamous image of Adam Morrison crying at mid court after the Zags blew a lead in the second half to get eliminated. The Bulldogs are favored to win the game, but there are some things for the Bruins to do to upset the Zags.
The Zags are going on to the Sweet 16 after dominating the Iowa Hawkeyes. Gonzaga had four players in double digits and crashed the boards with 34 rebounds. The team was not stingy with the ball by any means with every starter having at least one assist. Domantas Sabonis stepped up big off the bench tallying 18 points and the Gonzaga Bulldogs would go on to win, 87-68.
Playing with a burst of energy from the outset, North Dakota State jumped out to a 9-4 lead over Gonzaga in the first two minutes … and we thought maybe this was going to be the upset we’ve been waiting for all day. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Gonzaga returned to being the Gonzaga we’ve seen all year and did just enough to hold on for a 86-76 victory, although NDSU never really went away in a valiant effort.
Kentucky and Virginia, the top two teams in the nation, have gotten it done this season by staying consistent on defense. No. 3 Gonzaga is no slouch on defense, but it is better known for its offensive prowess. While it’s all but certain that the Bulldogs will reach their 17th-consecutive NCAA Tournament, what makes this West Coast team seem especially strong this season?
This is the battle between number one and two in the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. Earlier this season Gonzaga dominated St. Mary’s, 68-47.
The Bulldogs of Gonzaga are ranked No. 3 in the nation and not looking to tarnish their record this season. St. Mary’s, on the other hand, has nothing to lose and hopes to derail the Bulldogs and make a late run in the WCC. Tip-off is at 10 p.m. ET tonight.