Dave Boling

Boling: Zags on collision course with UK in title game

Granted, you can find anything online.

But this is legitimately trending, and a range of opinions from college hoops experts to bookies have included the possibility of the NCAA tournament championship coming down to a game between Kentucky and Gonzaga.

Winner takes Kyle Wiltjer?

Obstacles abound, as three games stand between Sweet 16 participants and the title tip-off.

ESPN Stats studied the numbers and affixed the percentage of probability for teams making it through the regional bracket. Undefeated Kentucky, as expected, had the best chance (82 percent).

The second-highest percentage was Gonzaga, which was considered a 52 percent choice to escape the South Regional.

That would mean topping UCLA on Friday, then defeating the Utah-Duke winner on the other side of the bracket on Sunday.

Judging by the Vegas bookies, meanwhile, Gonzaga will make it to the final five.

Westgate SuperBook lists Kentucky as the favorite to win it all at even money, with Arizona (5-1), Duke (6-1) and Wisconsin (7-1) ahead of GU (12-1) as the fifth-best bet. But Arizona and Wisconsin are in the same region, as are Duke and GU, so that complicates the calculus.

SBNation this week called Gonzaga “a serious threat to reach the title game.” They cited the Zags’ size, physical toughness and a lineup in which all five starters can score — making a defensive game plan against them a game of pick-your-poison.

As early as February, Fox Sports did a story under the headline: “Gonzaga is built to beat Calipari’s great Kentucky juggernaut.” So the expectations have had time to build.

Kentucky seems to have an easy road to the title game, no matter which teams find themselves in the Wildcats’ path.

The Zags, meanwhile, are not expected to struggle Friday against UCLA, an 11-seed that fell to the visiting Bulldogs by 13 points in December.

On the other side of the South bracket, though, a good game could pit Duke (No. 1) vs. No. 5 Utah. It’s going to be a typographical nightmare meeting between Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski and Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak.

The better chance for GU in that one would be for a Utah upset. The Utes split with UCLA and lost twice to Arizona. The Zags beat UCLA and took Arizona to overtime before losing on the road in the early season.

A Duke vs. Gonzaga game in the Elite Eight, SBNation claimed, “could be the game of the tournament.”

The key duels, they pointed out, would be the 270-pound star Blue Devils freshman Jahlil Okafor versus the 300-pound Zag, Przemek Karnowski, in the middle. At guard the Zags’ Kevin Pangos would go against Duke freshman Tyus Jones, and Wiltjer, the Zags’ top scorer, would be expected to offset the efforts of Justise Winslow.

Whoever escapes the South would then have a possible semifinal date with a No. 1 (Wisconsin) or No. 2 (Arizona), if seeds hold up until then.

On their way to a 34-2 record, and a No. 2 seeding, and specifically in a convincing third-round win over Iowa on Sunday, the Zags have proven they deserve to be where they are.

A main-bar story in the process has been the play of Wiltjer, who transferred from Kentucky to Gonzaga and, after sitting out last season, continues to influence the outcome of games.

In the two games in Seattle last weekend, he scored 23 and 24 points while making 18 of 24 field-goal attempts. Wiltjer is a matchup headache for anybody left in this tournament.

But if they somehow end up in the title game against Kentucky, the Wildcats are the one team that won’t have to spend much time scouting him.

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