March Madness: Sweet Sixteen PreviewPublished March 21, 2022 by Sol FH
Gonzaga (1) takes on Arkansas (4) in the Sweet 16 matchup on Thursday.
For the second year in a row, Arkansas men's basketball has reached the NCAA tournament Sweet 16, with a chance to knock out this year's tournament Goliath.
In Thursday's West Regional Semifinal in San Francisco, No. 4 seed Arkansas (27-8) will face No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga (28-3)
On Saturday, the Razorbacks beat No. 12 New Mexico State 52-48 to advance to the Sweet 16. Similar to Arkansas, Gonzaga's first two games have been challenging. No. 9 Memphis had a 10-point lead at halftime, but the Bulldogs came from behind to beat them on Saturday and advance to the Sweet 16.
The defense of Arkansas is well-known, but the attack of Gonzaga will be its most difficult test yet. With a scoring average of nearly 88 points per game, Gonzaga leads the nation in scoring offense.
There are five Bulldogs that are averaging more than 11 points per game on the offensive end of the floor. Forward Drew Timme leads the club with 18.2 points per game.
Arkansas' defense played well against New Mexico State, but the Aggies were a No. 12 seed and scored 72 points on average per game.
Rebounding is a problem for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs average more than 32 defensive rebounds per game, which is the most in the country. Seven-footer Chet Holmgren, the team's leading rebounder, averages 9.8 boards per game.
Both of Gonzaga's tournament games have shown that the team is vulnerable. Georgia State fought back to within two points at halftime, but a 53-point second-half put the game out of reach. In the second round, Gonzaga won 82-78 over Memphis.
Predicting the outcome
With Timme and Holmgren leading the way, Gonzaga outscored a Razorback squad that couldn't afford another slow-starting, foul-ridden performance from JD Notae.
March Madness Betting
At bet365 Sports, Arkansas is the underdog at 3.90, but they are playing good basketball and could be upset for the Bulldogs. Gonzaga is at 1.27 for the win.