Nov 23, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs players celebrate with the Good Sam Empire Classic championship trophy after defeating the UCLA Bruins 83-63 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday night’s Gonzaga-UCLA game was the most appealing matchup so far in the 2021-22 college basketball season, featuring the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country (it also featured an emotional return to the ESPN booth for broadcasting legend Dick Vitale amid his battle with cancer).

Well, No. 1 Gonzaga steamrolled No. 2 UCLA 83-63 at the Good Sam Empire Classic in Las Vegas, in a game that was essentially over five minutes in.

Gonzaga got 24 points from Andrew Nembhard, 18 points from Drew Timme, 15 points from Chet Holmgren, and 12 points from Julian Strawther.

Holmgren, a string-bean 7’0″ freshman, is enormously talented — and with tons of upside, especially as he fills out — and in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. You can see why here:

Gonzaga, UCLA, Purdue, and Kansas have all been perceived as possible No. 1 teams in the country. While we may not be able to conclusively say anything in comparison to Purdue or Kansas just yet, Gonzaga at least looked on another level than an absolutely loaded UCLA team that went to the Final Four last season. And this is after Gonzaga lost star point guard Jalen Suggs to the NBA.

It’s just one game, but it was an eye-opening performance by the Bulldogs.

Here’s a sampling of how the college basketball world reacted to the Zags’ win:

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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