NCAA Elite Eight Preview: #2 Gonzaga vs. #1 Duke


This season has defied all of the odds for Gonzaga. Well, almost all of them.

The second-seeded Bulldogs are one win away from going to their first Final Four in program history. To get there, Gonzaga (35-2) must get through Duke (32-4).

When mentioning the Blue Devils, most immediately think of freshman center Jahlil Okakor. He leads the team with 17.7 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game. Opponents all season have tried to figure out how to stop Okafor. Should they double him? Should they go zone? What can stop the future NBA lottery pick?

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There is no specific formula, but size plays a huge role. It will be interesting to see how Przemek Karnowski and Domantis Sabonis handle Okafor. They have the size and strength to match up with him offensively. The real question will be how they can handle him defensively. If they can hold Okafor to under 20 points, I see the Zags having a real chance in this game.

Okafor is not the only weapon Duke has. In fact, they have a lot of them. The backcourt of Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook against the backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. will be quite a sight to see. From an eye test perspective, Duke appears to have more talent in their backcourt. However, Gonzaga has the advantage of experience with two seniors in their backcourt. The Zags will have to neutralize their production if they want to have a good chance of pulling the upset. It’s quite a tall order, but not impossible.

The game tips off Sunday at 2:05 p.m. and can be seen on CBS.