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Last season Gonzaga spent four weeks at No. 1 and seven weeks at No.. 2 in the AP Top 25 poll, where it ended up in the final ranking. The only team before the Bulldogs ended up being Kansas, who also spent four weeks at No. 1 and in the top 6 for the entire season before ending up at the top.
But the country’s two best teams never made it onto the pitch last season as they had the chance to make it into the Final Four as No.. 1 to meet. 1 seed collapsed when college basketball postseason was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So maybe it’s only fitting that No.. 1 bulldogs and no. 6 Jayhawks will compete against each other for their 2020-21 season on Thursday at Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off.
The pandemic is still raging, and both teams’ squads look a bit different from last season, but a showdown among the top 10 teams is something any college fan can be thankful for, especially in 2020. That this is only the second ever meeting between Gonzaga and Kansas makes it even cuter.
There have been some concerns that the game could be played if a member of the Gonzaga tour group tests positive for COVID-19. However, no players tested positive and the game was allowed to play. Here is the statement made by Fort Myers Tip Off tournament organizers on Thursday:
Medical staff from the four participating Fort Myers Tip-Off facilities worked diligently to establish agreed COVID-19 testing procedures and protocols for the event. After testing all team tour groups on Wednesday, including 112 PCR tests, a positive result from a non-student athlete was confirmed by the Gonzaga tour company. The organizers activated their medical protocols and contacted the Florida Department of Health to independently conduct contact tracing. At the end of her investigation, Gonzaga’s two close contacts who were not students were identified. All three people isolate themselves in their hotel rooms under the supervision of their facility’s medical team. The medical staff of all programs that qualify as today’s games can be played as scheduled.
Kansas: The Jayhawks have lost three starters, including the best duo in college basketball in Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike. But the Jayhawks are giving back Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Garrett and colleague Ochai Agbaji, who were both starters on last year’s 28-3 team. Thereafter, coach Bill Self will mix a group of seasoned reserves with a few fascinating newcomers when he turns 18. Kansas season begins. It will be especially exciting to see if five-star freshman Bryce Thompson and / or junior college transfer Tyson Grant-Foster can emerge as efficient goalscorer to ease the Jayhawks’ offensive load.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs had an average of seven players between 9. 8 and 17. 5 points per game last season. Four of them have left, but the three who are returning are each potential superstars. The trio of guard Joel Ayayi, versatile striker Corey Kispert and great man Drew Timme was supposed to be fatal. When they need help, freshman Jalen Suggs steps up as the top-rated recruit in Mark Few’s 22 years as a coach. He is one of three top 100 signatories in the 2020 class for Gonzaga. Transfer guards Andrew Nembhard from Florida and Aaron Cook from southern Illinois also come into play after proving solid players on their previous stops. This abundance of talent is why this Gonzaga team is the first in program history to be No.. 1 has reached. 1 place in the AP Top 25 preseason survey.
Kansas is recalibrating its entire identity following the departures of Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike, as so much of what it did last season is based on this dominant duo. The Jayhawks have a knack for doing the job well and will fight for a Big 12 title. However, it can take a few games to find an offensive rhythm. Gonzaga has lost some nice producers, but it has all the tools and talent to seamlessly play the same efficient style that resulted in a 31-2 record last season. The Bulldogs should cover this time. Then we can hope for an NCAA tournament rematch. Selection: Gonzaga -4
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Gonzaga Bulldogs Men’s Basketball, Kansas Jayhawks Men’s Basketball, College Basketball, NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament
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