Clemson vs Gonzaga

Time: 09:00 P.M. EST
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The last time Gonzaga played in the Old Spice Classic, it walked away as tournament champion.

As the only ranked team in this year's field, the No. 17 Bulldogs begin their quest for another tournament title Thursday night against Clemson in suburban Orlando.

Behind current Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga beat Oklahoma State, Maryland and then-No. 12 Tennessee to win the 2008 Old Spice Classic at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. That was the program's only previous trip to this event.

After barely being tested in their first three contests this season, the Bulldogs (3-0) are the favorites in a field that also includes West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Davidson and Oklahoma. No other team at this tournament received a vote in this week's AP poll.

"We just need to go out every night and play as hard as we can, it doesn't matter who we face," said senior Elias Harris, who had 16 points and 18 rebounds in Sunday's 96-58 win over South Dakota.

Gonzaga has shot 54.3 percent while averaging 94.3 points. Its most impressive win was an 84-50 rout of the Mountaineers, who could face the Bulldogs again in Sunday's championship game. Six Gonzaga players are averaging at least 11.0 points, led by 7-foot-1 Polish reserve Przemek Karnowski at 16.0 per game.

"They're really good, with great size," South Dakota coach Dave Boots said.

Karnowski, a freshman, scored 20 points in 19 minutes against South Dakota, but coach Mark Few knows the key to his team's success depends on the play of Harris and the backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr.

Bell and Pangos are each 6 of 13 from 3-point range while Harris continues to solidify his presence in the paint, averaging 13.0 points and 10.7 boards.

"Just go out and have fun, come out with lots of energy, attack the boards and grab as many boards as I can," Harris said.

He hopes to do the same Thursday when Gonzaga faces Clemson (2-0) for the first time since the Bulldogs upset the fifth-ranked Tigers 84-71 in double-overtime at the 1997 Top of the World Classic in Alaska.

After beating Presbyterian and Furman by a combined 50 points, the Tigers face their first true test in the tournament opener. Senior big man Devin Booker averages a team-leading 13.0 points, but Clemson coach Brad Brownell hopes to see some continued balance after eight players averaged at least 5.5 points through the first two contests.

"That's probably going to be the recipe for our team this year," he told Clemson's official website. "I don't know that we have a lot of potent guys that are ready to have big nights. I believe it's going to be a bunch of guys getting eight, 10, 12 points when we're playing well."

The winner of this contest faces either UTEP or Oklahoma in Friday's semifinals.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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College Basketball Current Odds
GameCurrent Line
Gonzaga
@ Clemson
-8.5
 

ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina13-325-53
Florida St.11-523-613
Louisville11-523-64
Notre Dame11-522-723
Duke10-622-712
Miami (Fla.)10-620-838
Va. Tech9-720-837
Virginia9-719-920
Syracuse9-817-1376
Wake Forest7-916-1240
Georgia Tech7-916-1396
Pittsburgh4-1215-1463
Clemson4-1214-1459
NC State4-1315-15104
Boston College2-149-20205
West Coast
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Gonzaga17-129-19
St. Marys16-226-316
BYU12-621-1090
San Fran.10-820-1194
Santa Clara10-816-15147
LMU8-1015-14148
San Diego6-1213-17191
Pepperdine5-139-21229
Pacific4-1410-21230
Portland2-1610-21236

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