Keys to the game:
- Be mean on the glass: Gonzaga doesn't go to the offensive glass that hard usually, but they may after seeing what Arizona did. X must limit the Bulldogs to one shot possessions but get second chances on the other end. That's going to be uphill sledding, but the Musketeers have the dogs to compete on the glass. They have to this game, because Gonzaga's stifling defense isn't likely to allow a shooting clinic.
- Trust the system: Against Arizona Coach Mack packed the defense in and dared the Wildcats to beat X from deep. When Trier got hot, that very nearly happened. The Musketeers kept discipline though, and they got the stops when they needed them. Look for more zone tonight, because the Zags also don't love shooting the three. (Like Arizona though, they certainly can). Relying on the rotating defenses and not panicking if a string of shots go down is going to be key for Xavier tonight.
- Ride the magic: X couldn't lose to DePaul and they didn't. They had to beat Butler, and they did. After that came Melo Trimble with all his hype, then the bouncing, high energy Seminoles. The Musketeers were down eight with 3:40 to play against Arizona and they pulled that one off, too. There have been reasons on paper to doubt X in almost all of those games, and there are again tonight. Each time, though, Xavier has pulled out the win through game planning, shot making when needed, and that little bit of magic that every team needs. Why not more of it tonight?