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NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Preview: No. 4 UConn vs. No. 3 Gonzaga | 8:49 p.m., TBS

Drew Timme and Gonzaga stand between UConn and its sixth Final Four.

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament West Regional- Gonzaga vs UCLA Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, March 25

Where: T-Mobile Arena — Las Vegas, Nevada

TV: TBS — Want to watch the Huskies all tournament long? Sign up for SlingTV to watch all of the March Madness games.

Radio: UConn Sports Network

Odds: UConn -2, over/under 153.5 - Odds presented by DraftKings

KenPom Predicted Score: No. 4 UConn 80, No. 3 Gonzaga 77 | 59 percent win probability

After steamrolling Arkansas Thursday night, UConn men’s basketball advanced to the West region final, where it will take on a Gonzaga team that erased a double-digit second-half deficit against UCLA to reach its second Elite Eight in three seasons.

Mark Few’s Bulldogs, the national runners-up in 2021, are the top offense in the country per KenPom and are led by center Drew Timme, who scored nearly half (36) of Gonzaga’s 79 points to will the Bulldogs to a win over the Bruins for their 12th-straight victory — the longest active streak in the country.

Timme and Gonzaga have a ton of tournament experience — Saturday’s Elite Eight matchup will be his 13th-career NCAA tournament game — but the program is still looking for its first title. A win against UConn would get the Bulldogs to their third Final Four, all of which have happened since 2017.

When UConn Has the Ball

UConn’s offense absolutely torched an Arkansas defense that ranked 15th nationally in defensive efficiency, scoring 1.26 points per possession. The Huskies shot the 3-pointer well (45 percent) but didn’t use it as a crutch, only taking clean looks for the most part and forcing the ball inside whenever possible. When Adama Sanogo (18 points) is as dominant and efficient as he has been all tournament, UConn becomes incredibly difficult to stop.

Arkansas tried to double Sanogo as much as possible on the block, but the big man either scored, found the open man, or let the guards find an open shooter on the perimeter if the Razorbacks moved too early.

Gonzaga’s defense is the weakest it has been in years under Mark Few, ranking 73rd in defensive efficiency per KenPom. The team’s adjusted deficiency of 99.3 is the worst since 2006-07. The Bulldogs don’t force a lot of turnovers and are comfortable with opponents shooting from outside against them.

While Gonzaga isn’t bad on the boards, the Huskies should have an advantage with Sanogo, Donovan Clingan, and Andre Jackson chasing down offensive rebounds.

UConn actually got outrebounded on offensive boards against Arkansas — the Razorbacks missed a ton of shots — but the majority of those were in the second half of a game that was well in hand. That will be a major key once again as The Huskies look to keep pace with one of the most high-powered offenses left in the tournament.

With so much focus likely on Sanogo, ball movement will once again be key. The Huskies assisted on 71 percent of their baskets in the last round. Those extra passes led to open looks for Jordan Hawkins, Joey Calcaterra, and Nahiem Alleyne, who combined to shoot 6-15 from beyond the arc. UConn’s 20 3-point attempts were the least they have taken in nearly two months, and while Sanogo’s dominance makes it easy to pass up some deep looks, expect the Huskies to let it fly a little more from deep against a Zags team that lets opponents shoot nearly 39 percent from the perimeter.

When Gonzaga has the ball

The Bulldog offense really revolves almost entirely around Timme and Julian Strawther, who combine to be utilized on over half of their team’s offensive possessions. Strawther, who hit the go-ahead shot against UCLA to get the Bulldogs to the Elite Eight, is a 6-foot-7 sharpshooter who is hitting 42 percent from 3-point range this season and 38 percent (8-21) this tournament.

As evidenced by his shot against the Bruins, Strawther has deep range and will need to be picked up almost as soon as he’s over half-court, much like how opponents treat Hawkins.

Timme is the heart and soul of the Gonzaga offense, frequently leaned on by Few to score and utilize his incredible footwork to find the basket seemingly at will. The big man is comfortable with his back to the basket or working from the perimeter to the hoop, the latter of which is a major problem for the likes of Sanogo and Clingan, who have struggled to defend quicker bigs on the perimeter.

The 6-foot-10 center is not normally a perimeter threat, but is 2-2 so far in the tournament. Those 3-pointers are the first Timme has made in the 2023 calendar year — he was 0-10 prior to the tournament and shoots just 16.7 percent from deep this season. Instead, Timme likes to put the ball on the floor from the perimeter and drive to the hoop, using a flurry of pivots and ball fakes to get defenders moving. While he’s exceptional at drawing contact, ranking 18th nationally in fouls drawn per 40 minutes, he’s not a particularly good free throw shooter, shooting just 63.3 percent.

With the way Sanogo has impacted the game, Timme and the Bulldogs will almost certainly try to go at Sanogo early and often to get him into foul trouble, then do the same when Clingan comes in to relieve him. UConn’s bigs — along with Jackson and Alex Karaban, who also might guard Timme for stretches — need to be sure to sag off Timme around the arc and not get caught in the air on pump fakes.

While Timme is the main weapon and Strwather is option B, Gonzaga has some quality role players around them. Anton Watson had five offensive rebounds and nine total boards against UCLA, helping his side outrebound the Bruins 50-26. Malachi Smith has hit double figures off the bench in two-straight games now, and Rasir Bolton is a knockdown shooter that spaces the floor along with Strawther, shooting 39.3 percent from outside.