Seven reasons why Gonzaga will win the National Championship this year

Ever since Mark Few started coaching at Gonzaga, the program has become more and more successful. With two national championship appearances in the past five years along with NCAA appearances in every year of Few’s 20-plus year coaching career at the helm, it seems like destiny that Gonzaga will win one eventually. But why is this year any different than their past failures? It is because of the seven reasons I list below. 

  1. Drew Timme. A list that doesn’t start with the preseason Wooden Award winner is not an actual list. The 6’10’’ junior forward has continued his signs of domination from last year, excelling in the post and always finding a way to get the ball in the hoop. His footwork and post moves are the best in all of college basketball, and while he may not be the best NBA prospect, he is one of the best players the Zags have ever had. Timme has started the season averaging 18.4 points per game on only 26 minutes of play per game. Something unspoken about Drew Timme is his passing prowess. He is an incredible player to run the offense around because when he gets doubled underneath, he always finds the open man. Timme tested the draft waters this last year but came back to avenge their loss to Baylor and win a championship. 
  2. The Unicorn. When Chet Holmgren, the “unicorn,” chose Gonzaga last spring,  Zags fans knew that this year was going to be a special one. Holmgren, a 7-foot, 195lb center, went to high school with Jalen Suggs at Minnehaha, and I know that Suggs put in a good word for him. Holmgren dominates inside, averaging 13.6 points per game on 69 percent shooting from the field, combining that with over three blocks per game. The only number one overall recruit to go to Gonzaga has already made an incredible impact on this team, and I would expect his impact only to keep growing. Projected as the number one overall pick in next year’s draft by many analysts, Holmgren will need to put on muscle, but his intangible skills are incredible. 
  3. Julian Strawther. Strawther has been a surprise for the Zags and me at the start of  this year. The sophomore guard who didn’t play much last season has stepped into his starting role and is performing particularly well. Averaging over 15 points per game this season, the kid from Vegas has played a vital role in the team. The 6’7’’ guard is a top 2 shooter for the Zags, averaging 47 percent from deep, and will need to keep that up for the team to continue their stellar play. Strawther is a physical guard who excels not only in scoring but also on the offensive glass, averaging over two rebounds per game. He is an invaluable asset for the game and one that will need to continue his productive start into the postseason.
  4. Rasir Bolton. The Iowa State graduate transfer has been a fantastic addition to the Zags’ starting lineup this season. With the increased number of recruits Gonzaga is getting, the Zags have relied less and less on the transfer portal, but Bolton was a must. He is one of the best 3-point shooters in the nation, averaging 50 percent from three. While Bolton is a little undersized, he is quick in transition and fits perfectly into an already tall starting lineup. Bolton’s explosiveness and his way to get the ball through the net make him a valuable asset for a team wanting to make a tournament run. 
  5. Andrew Nembhard. Every team that makes a deep run into March Madness needs an efficient field general, precisely what Nembhard provides. The second-year transfer from the University of Florida was a crucial part of last year’s national championship run but will need to be even bigger with the loss of now Magic point guard Jalen Suggs. Nembhard is struggling with turnovers but has excelled in other parts of the game, dropping 24 points against a strong UCLA defense. He adds tight defense with good size and athleticism, averaging about 1.4 steals per game. 
  6. The Bench. Hunter Sallis, Nolan Hickman, and Anton Watson are the main three Zag contributors that don’t start, but all three serve a purpose. Watson is an interior big man with post skills and tremendous interior defense. He is 6’8’’ but plays taller than his height and always finds a way to shut down the opposing team. He played great defense against Duke’s five-star Paolo Banchero in Gonzaga’s loss to Duke, proving his skill set. Sallis is another five-star freshman from the incoming class, loaded with talent but lacking in experience. By receiving more play time through conference play, Sallis should gain confidence and become a significant contributor for the Zags when it gets to March. Hickman is the third freshman for the Zags who sees a lot of playing time. Hickman has been one of Gonzaga’s best shooters from deep, averaging 40 percent from beyond the arc. He, like Sallis, needs time to get situated into the offense, but his raw skill set is already there. 
  7. Mark Few. Much of the team’s success in the last 20 years can be attributed to the head coach of the Zags. He has made Gonzaga a perennial contender and increased the number of recruits that come to Spokane. His winning percentage at over 83 percent is one of the highest ever, and his 20 straight NCAA appearances are outstanding. 


Overall, this year is better than any other for Gonzaga to come home to Spokane with a trophy. With their talent both on and off the court, the Zags are in prime position, and Gonzaga seems due for a championship. Gonzaga already has wins over Texas and UCLA, both preseason top 10s, and lost a close one to Duke. For my final prediction, I predict a championship game with Gonzaga beating Purdue, 83-79.