By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
No. 6 Baylor men’s basketball has a title rematch against No. 14 Gonzaga University at 7 p.m. Friday in the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. as part of the Peacock Classic.
Here are some of our thoughts on the matchup and who we think will prevail in the highly anticipated neutral site contest.
Michael Haag | Sports Editor
In recent memory, it’s not often to see a Scott Drew led team get destroyed the way it did against Marquette University on Tuesday. When looking ahead to Gonzaga, it’s concerning to know a much better opponent looms. Despite this, the Bears will be much more competitive in this game, in stark contrast to their last outing against the Golden Eagles.
The Bulldogs are really good, though. Don’t let their early season losses cloud your mind ahead of this matchup. The score will be close for a large majority of the contest, but Gonzaga will ultimately pull ahead late and find more success in the paint. Baylor has struggled to find a presence down low that its had for the last two-plus seasons. Fifth-year senior forward Flo Thamba is great, but he along with the other guys in that room need to step up for this one.
Score: Gonzaga 75, Baylor 64
Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Any team under Scott Drew is a disciplined team, but this team seems to have something special about it, and I strongly believe you won’t see another performance similar to its last outing against Marquette. Baylor still has one of the best college basketball teams in the nation. Gonzaga is also in the same stratosphere as Baylor, but with its poor play and the likelihood that the Bears bounce-back in a big way, it’s going to be a great game that will go in Baylor’s favor. I don’t think Gonzaga is going to be able to handle the gritty, physical and aggressive defense of the defending Big 12 champs.
Score: Baylor 67, Gonzaga 61
George Schroeder | LTVN Executive Producer
If they weren’t already, Baylor fans have been faced with reality: This season, anybody can beat anybody. Sure, that’s the nature of the sport, but every year fans live for those major upsets … if they root for the underdogs. After getting annihilated by a moderate Marquette squad, nobody should be surprised when Baylor rallies to beat Gonzaga Friday.
A rematch of the 2021 national title game is sure to bring out the best in both teams. If Baylor’s leaders in junior guard LJ Cryer and redshirt senior guard Adam Flagler put up the numbers they’re capable of, and the team follows suit, the Bears will win in South Dakota.
Score: Baylor 85, Gonzaga 80