Gonzaga is now two wins away from making history.
The top-seeded Bulldogs finished out their domination of the men’s NCAA tournament’s West Region with a 85–66 win over No. 6 USC. This one was never competitive: Gonzaga scored the game’s first seven points in less than two minutes to trigger a USC timeout and never looked back. The Zags led the entire way, including by double figures for the game’s final 34:55, blowing away a Trojans club that had won its first three games in Indianapolis by an average of 21.3 points.
Much was made coming in about USC’s top-ranked two-point defense and whether the Trojans’ length could disrupt the Gonzaga offense. It didn’t matter. The Bulldogs got layup after layup in the early stages of this one, getting out in transition off early USC turnovers, and picked their opponent apart in the halfcourt playing through big man Drew Timme. Timme led a balanced Gonzaga scoring effort with 23 points, also adding five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Star freshman point guard Jalen Suggs also had it going for the Zags, stuffing the stat sheet with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Meanwhile, no one outside of the Mobley brothers could ever get anything going for the Trojans. Isaiah and Evan Mobley combined for 36 points and shot 12 for 22 from the field. The rest of the team shot an ugly 11 for 39, just 28%. That included just two points on 1-for-4 shooting for Isaiah White, who led the way for USC with 22 points in its Sweet 16 win over Oregon. The cold shooting never allowed the Trojans to make a serious push to get back in the game despite the Gonzaga offense cooling down some in the second half. USC was never within 15 in the game’s final 20 minutes.
Gonzaga heads to its second-ever men’s Final Four after first accomplishing that milestone in the 2016–17 season. It also becomes the first men’s team to enter the Final Four undefeated since the 2014–15 Kentucky team that started 38–0 before losing to Wisconsin in the national semifinals.
The 30–0 Bulldogs remain in pursuit of becoming the first men’s team since Bob Knight’s 1975–76 Indiana Hoosiers to be an undefeated national champion. They will face the winner of Michigan-UCLA on Saturday night.
Early in Tuesday’s game, referee Bert Smith collapsed on the court. He reportedly felt light-headed but did not need to be hospitalized after receiving medical attention.