2017 NCAA Tournament Preview: Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Xavier Musketeers

Game Time: 6:09 PM EST

Location: SAP Center, San José CA

TV: TBS

Spread: Gonzaga -8, O/U 146

Gonzaga Bulldogs(35-1, 17-1 WCC) vs. Xavier Musketeers(24-13, 9-9 Big East)

This is the perfect matchup for Forgotten 5/Mid-Major fans, you have two “smaller” schools that have never been to a Final Four, one win away from making history. One was expected to be there and the other is a Cinderella, one thing they both have in common is the fact that most of the country sleeps on them.

While the “experts” tell you that Gonzaga is for real, most people who only watch P5 teams think they are overrated and not a legit team because of the conference they are in. Sure, the WCC isn’t the strongest conference, but when you put up the stats and the wins they did, it shouldn’t matter what conference they are in.

They opened the tourney with win over South Dakota State, where they dominated in the second half. Then they had a controversial win over Northwestern, where the refs changed the outlook of the game with a missed goaltending call. They beat West Virgina in the worst shooting game I have ever watched and it ended with the most confusing last possession ever. West Virgina got three looks from three and then dribbled the clock out without getting off a fourth shot.

Xavier on the other hand, is a team who hasn’t been great, but they haven’t been bad. They were 11 games over .500 but their record doesn’t tell the full story. They started the year hot, they were 13-2 before a big three-game stretch against Villanova, Butler, and Creighton, they went 0-3 in that stretch. After that, they went 6-7 with a six-game losing streak to end the regular season. They were eliminated in the Big East quarterfinals.

Then the NCAA Tournament started. They came out and used a big second half to beat a really good Maryland team. It wasn’t expected but it wasn’t a surprise.

Then the surprises started, the Musketeers MURDERED a really good Florida State team, it was amazing to watch. FSU looked like they forgot to show up, they were lost, never had a chance.

They beat the Arizona Wildcats. Thanks for ruining my bracket, Musketeers. Out of all their upsets, this one shocked me the most. The entire game was back and forth, no one had a double-digit lead. It was the type of game that is a perfect representation of what March Madness is, back and forth, no one getting a big lead and going down to the last shot.

Prediction:

Will there be a double-digit seed in the Final Four? Will Gonzaga make it to their first Final Four?

Not going to lie, I think we are going to have an 11 seed in the Final Four, something about this Xavier team just screams Final Four. They beat #3, #2, now they are going to beat #1.

It’s going to be a close game, back and forth,  just like the Arizona game. But the Musketeers will go to their first Final Four ever and the historic Gonzaga season will come to an end.

Xavier 62- Gonzaga 58

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