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NCAA Tournament Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Iowa ran Davidson out of the gym on Friday for their first NCAA Tournament win since 2001. Today, they will face a much tougher test in Gonzaga.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes will have to put their 31 point win behind them as they turn their attention to the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a virtual road game for the Hawkeyes. They will face off in Seattle, Washington with a trip to Houston for the Sweet 16 on the line. The game will tip off at 7:10 EST / 6:10 CT on TBS. Gonzaga is coming off a 10 point win over North Dakota St. It'll be a very different game from the one we saw on Friday as Gonzaga is more similar to Iowa in terms of size and they have more of an inside presence than Davidson did. It'll be a dog fight in KeyArena, and the team that is more aggressive will likely win.

When Iowa Has The Ball

It's no secret that Iowa wants Aaron White to touch the ball on every possession, and he will take a bulk of Iowa's shots. White has scored 20 points in each of the last 6 games, and he will need to get going against Gonzaga to win the game. If White can't get going, I'm not sure that Iowa has enough scoring from other players to hang around in this game. White will be matched up against Gonzaga's leading scorer, forward Kyle Wiltjer. Adam Woodbury for the Hawkeyes will face much stiffer inside competition in 7'1" center Przemek Karnowski. Mike Gesell will be guarded by 4 time all conference player Kevin Pangos. Pangos voted the West Coast Conference player of the year. Iowa will have to attack inside early and often to try to get Gonzaga's bigs in foul trouble. While Gonzaga has a very strong starting lineup, they have little depth as they have been hurt by injuries all year.

When Gonzaga Has The Ball

The Bulldogs have the 5th most efficient offense in basketball according to KenPom, and they have weapons all over the court. Starting point guard Kevin Pangos is one of the best players in the country. His 3.8 Assist to turnover rating is outstanding. He averages 11.7 PPG and 5 APG for the Bulldogs. He also shoot the ball incredibly well, making threes at a 44.4% clip. He is going to be a handful for whoever guards him, and Iowa will be trying to get the ball out of his hands all game long. Kyle Wiltjer is Gonzaga's leading scorer at 16.9 PPG while also grabbing 6 RPG. The 6'10' transfer from Kentucky is a stretch power forward and a sharp shooter from deep. He shoots 47% from deep and 56.5% from 2. Aaron White is going to have to make him uncomfortable and keep him from getting into a shooting rhythm. Junior Przemek Karnowski is Gonzaga's main inside presence. Karnowski scores 11 PPG and pulls down 6 RPG. Byron Wesley also has a double digit scoring average at 10.7 PPG. He is a slasher who draws a lot of fouls a game.

What To Expect

Gonzaga is a very balanced team and they like a fast paced game. It will be critical that Iowa gets back in transition. Some of their numbers may be a bit inflated due to the weaker teams that they play in conference, but they are still a force to be reckoned with and they have top D-1 talent on their team. Gonzaga is playing in their 7th straight round of 32, but they haven't made it to the Sweet 16 since 2009. Meanwhile, Iowa hasn't been to the Sweet 16 since 1999. Both teams will be ready to break the drought. If Iowa shoots as well as they did Friday, this game will come down to the wire. The matchup of Aaron White against Kyle Wiltjer will be entertaining to say the least, and I think the winner of that matchup will lead their team to victory.