fbpx

Gonzaga, UCLA agree to rematch of epic Final Four contest

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Jalen Suggs (1) leaps on a sideline table to celebrate after sinking a buzzer beater three-pointer to defeat UCLA in overtime during the semifinals of the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Mandatory Credit: Robert Scheer/IndyStar via USA TODAY Sports
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Jalen Suggs (1) leaps on a sideline table to celebrate after sinking a buzzer beater three-pointer to defeat UCLA in overtime during the semifinals of the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Mandatory Credit: Robert Scheer/IndyStar via USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga and UCLA have agreed to a rematch of their classic Final Four matchup and will face each other on Nov. 23 in Las Vegas, according to multiple reports.

The contest will be part of a two-day, four-team format at T-Mobile Arena that includes two games on Nov. 22: Gonzaga versus Central Michigan and UCLA against Bellarmine.

Gonzaga edged UCLA 93-90 in overtime in last season’s Final Four when star point guard Jalen Suggs banked in a 35-foot shot at the buzzer.

The contest was awarded the “Best Game” honor in ESPN’s ESPYs awards show earlier this month. The Bulldogs lost to Baylor in the title game two days later.

The return to school of Bruins star Johnny Juzang makes the rematch even more appetizing. Juzang, who flirted with leaving for the NBA, scored 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting against Gonzaga and topped 20 points in four of UCLA’s six NCAA Tournament games.

In fact, all five UCLA starters are back.

Gonzaga is expected to be the preseason No. 1 team despite losing Suggs and fellow star Corey Kispert. Drew Timme returns and the Zags welcome the national high school player of the year in big man Chet Holmgren.

The Bruins may open at No. 2, based on the projections of college basketball observers.

UCLA and Gonzaga have met three times in the NCAA Tournament with the teams splitting a pair of Sweet 16 matchups in addition to last season’s epic encounter.

The 2006 contest rates as one of the more memorable comebacks in recent NCAA Tournament history as the Bruins scored the final 11 points to record a 73-71 victory. Gonzaga’s collapse left star Adam Morrison crying face down on the court.

The Bulldogs won 74-62 in the other NCAA Tournament meeting in 2015.

–Field Level Media