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2024 NCAA Tournament: How to watch Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. McNeese State Cowboys, live stream, TV channel for first round matchup

Bulldogs begin their postseason run against the Cowboys in Salt Lake City

An intriguing first-round matchup in the Midwest Region of the 2024 NCAA Tournament pits the 5-seed Gonzaga Bulldogs against the 12-seed McNeese State Cowboys in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday.

Gonzaga (25-7, 14-2 WCC) is appearing in its 25th-consecutive NCAA Tournament, the third-longest active streak in the nation behind Kansas (34) and Michigan State (26). It'll be the program's first time entering the postseason as a 5-seed. The Zags have advanced to the Sweet 16 in eight consecutive tournaments, the only program to do so, and have won their opening-round game in each of the past 14 postseasons — only the Jayhawks (16) have a longer winning streak in the first round.

Since starting the season 16-6, the Bulldogs have won nine of their past 10 games with their only loss coming to Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference Tournament championship. In that stretch, Gonzaga is No. 3 in offensive efficiency, No. 1 in effective field goal percentage and has posted the sixth-lowest turnover rate in the country, per Bart Torvik. It also ranks in the top-10 in 2-point field and 3-point field goal percentages.

Graham Ike leads the way with 16.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 post was an All-American honorable mention, All-WCC first team and NABC District 9 first team. His 18.4 points per game and 64.0% shooting from the field in conference play led the WCC, making him the sixth player in league history to lead in both categories in the same season.

McNeese State (30-3, 17-1 Southland) is dancing for the first time since 2002 after it set a program record for total wins in a season under head coach Will Wade in his first season at Lake Charles, Louisiana. The former LSU head coach revamped the Cowboys in the transfer portal over the offseason with a group headlined by TCU transfer Shahada Wells. The fifth-year guard averaged 17.8 points, 4.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals, earning him the Southland Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year award.

Christian Shumate, a 6-foot-6 junior, was named the league's defensive player of the year after leading the way in rebounds per game (9.5) and finishing second in blocks (1.4). He also chips in 11.9 points per game.

The Cowboys lead the nation in scoring margin (18.9) and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (38.8%). They also rank third in steals (10.4) and turnover margin (6.7) while boasting the fifth-best scoring defense (61.5 points per game). 

Thursday marks the first meeting between the two programs. Gonzaga is 5-0 against the Southland Conference with its most recent run-in being a 95-78 win over Northwestern State in December 2020.

How to Watch 5-seed Gonzaga vs. 12-seed McNeese State

Who: Gonzaga faces McNeese State in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament

When: 4:25 p.m. PT/7:25 p.m. EST | Thursday, March 21

Where: Delta Center | Salt Lake City, Utah

Live Stream: Stream this game on fuboTV (Start your free trial)