We have a clash of college basketball powerhouse programs Saturday when the UConn Huskies meet the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Elite 8 of the 2023 NCAA tournament. The winner of this game will win the West region and advance to the Final Four.
Here’s a look at some of the key metrics and stats that will ultimately determine how this game unfolds.
UConn vs. Gonzaga key stats
Who will control the boards?
UConn was 17th in rebounds per game across all college hoops during the regular season, while Gonzaga was 55th. The Huskies and Bulldogs have bout outrebounded their opponents in every game this tournament, so something will have to give in this one. Gonzaga dominated the second half on the glass against UCLA and if any of that energy carries over in this one, it’ll be a long night for the Huskies.
Who will control the tempo?
According to Kenpom.com, the Bulldogs are 39th in adjusted tempo. That’s not extremely pacy, but it is on the higher side of things when compared to UConn. The Huskies are 211th in adjusted tempo, so they are far more deliberate. It has worked well for the Big East group, as they have a balanced unit that methodically takes teams down. They definitely don’t want to get caught up in a fast-paced affair, which Gonzaga will certainly try to create.
Which defense will hold up?
Gonzaga is the top offense per Kenpom.com, but UConn is not far behind at No. 3. The Huskies are 13th in defensive efficiency, while the Bulldogs are 73rd. In the first half against UCLA, Mark Few’s defense was getting obliterated. Even in moments against Grand Canyon and TCU, the Bulldogs were scrambling and making bad decisions. That can’t happen against UConn, especially if the game is slowed down. From the Huskies’ perspective, they just watched UCLA’s No. 2 defense blow a 13-point halftime lead to a lethal offense. They’ll want to put the clamps down but that’s easier said than done against Gonzaga.