The rise of Gonzaga under head coach Mark Few is one of the more unexpected ascents to power in the history of collegiate sports. Inheriting a mid-major program with virtually no history and little success, Few built on the work of his predecessor Dan Monson and built the Bulldogs into a perennial contender.
Despite several Elite Eight appearances and falling just short of a title in 2017, this season's Zags are easily the most talented to step foot in Spokane. Going 26-0 this season, complete with a 4-0 record vs. Top 25 teams, Gonzaga cruised to a West Coast Conference victory. Now, the "new-blood" attempts to complete their meteoric rise to college basketball supremacy: a National Championship. Is there any hope for the other 67 teams in this year's bracket?
*All statistics and rankings courtesy of Sports Reference CBB
Making a Monster
It feels like a decade ago, but last year's Gonzaga team was exceptional as well. A 31-2 record and the nation's highest-scoring offense propelled them to what would have been a likely #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
So, what makes this year's team even better? To start, many of the key players from 2019-20 are back, with expanded roles and improved play. Washington native Corey Kispert, a first-team All American, has erupted into an elite scoring threat, averaging 19.2 points per game on 54/44/90 shooting. Drew Timme has become a menace inside the paint, increasing his scoring and rebounding numbers on a team lacking size. Joel Ayayi continues to be one of the best rebounding guards in the nation, while Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard and sophomore forward Anton Watson act as solid complimentary pieces.
Additionally, the team added superstar freshman Jalen Suggs to play point guard. The #7 overall recruit and top point guard in the 2020 class, Suggs has been a revelation for Few, showcasing a rare ability to make elite-level plays at such a young age. With the ability to score efficiently (51.2 FG