After beating Vanderbilt on Thursday in its first ever NCAA Tournament game, Northwestern will face No. 1 Gonzaga in the second round Saturday. The game is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ET on CBS.
The Wildcats are still riding high from their thrilling 68-66 first-round victory. That game ended when Bryant McIntosh, who scored 25 points on the day, drilled two free throws following an inexplicable intentional foul by Vanderbilt’s Matthew Fisher-Davis. After a jubilant postgame celebration, coach Chris Collins will have to get his team in the proper mindset entering Saturday’s game.
Northwestern-Gonzaga game time, details for 2017 NCAA Tournament
Time: 5:15 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, March 18
Place: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City
What TV channel is Northwestern-Gonzaga on?
Northwestern and Gonzaga will play on CBS.
How can I watch Northwestern-Gonzaga online?
All NCAA Tournament games can be streamed through March Madness Live or through the March Madness Live app.
How can I listen to Northwestern-Vanderbilt basketball on the radio?
Northwestern basketball is carried by WGN Radio 720.
Who are the announcers for Northwestern-Vanderbilt basketball?
TBS: Andrew Catalon and Steve Lappas will announce the game with Jamie Erdahl reporting.
WGN Radio: Dave Eanet and Joey Meyer have the call.
Northwestern-Gonzaga 2017 NCAA Tournament preview
In a way, Northwestern is playing with house money. This is the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, and just getting here felt like winning the championship for many Wildcats fans. But Northwestern players have been adamant all along that their goal wasn’t only to reach March Madness but also to make some noise when they got there.
The question Saturday will be whether Northwestern’s storybook season can withstand a clash with No. 1 seed Gonzaga. The Zags lost only one game all season and are ranked by KenPom.com as the most efficient team in the country. It’s safe to say Northwestern has not faced a team this dangerous all season.
Who besides McIntosh will step up?
Bryant McIntosh loves taking big shots for Northwestern, and he has to make them Saturday for the Wildcats to have any chance.
But McIntosh can’t do it alone, so Northwestern will need at least one wingman to step up. Against Vanderbilt, it was Scottie Lindsey in the first half and Dererk Pardon in the second half. Against Gonzaga, it could be Vic Law, who played a big role in several big Wildcats wins this year but was quiet vs. the Commodores.
The formula for a Northwestern upset involves McIntosh having another big day and a couple teammates playing above themselves to help out.
How will Northwestern stop Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski?
Few teams are well-equipped to defend a 7-foot-1-inch 300-pound behemoth, but Northwestern might have a harder time than most.
Karnowski, Gonzaga’s senior center, will have five inches on Pardon, who figures to guard him most of the evening. Pardon is a good defender and excellent rebounder, but that’s a big size difference to compensate for. One way or another, the Wildcats have to prevent Karnowski from dominating the game from the inside.
When will the magic run out?
Northwestern is having a dream season, but it can’t continue forever… right?
The last few weeks have surely been draining for the Wildcats, who ended the regular season with a succession of nail-biting games, experienced the euphoria of making the tournament, then played another thriller in the first round. Emotions have been running high for Collins and company for some time. Their success Saturday could depend on how well they channel it.