The Gonzaga Bulldogs are playing like there's no pressure to make NCAA tournament history

INDIANAPOLIS -- For the Gonzaga Bulldogs, becoming the first unbeaten team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers isn't the goal.

It's just a byproduct of their actual ultimate goal: winning the NCAA tournament.

And as Andrew Nembhard put it after top-seeded Gonzaga rolled through 5-seed Creighton 83-65, the Bulldogs are trying to do the same thing everyone else is doing.

"At this point, every team has to go undefeated now to win the tournament," Nembhard said. "So there's not really pressure to keep that streak. It just is what it is."

That might explain why Gonzaga continues to play so freely, seemingly unencumbered by the pressure of attempting something that hasn't been done in 45 years. The Zags scored at will against Creighton on Sunday, shooting nearly 60% from the field and an outrageous 76% on 2-point attempts. Drew Timme had 22 points and four assists, Nembhard had 17 points and eight assists, and Joel Ayayi and Corey Kispert finished in double figures.

The only starter not in double figures, Jalen Suggs, might have produced the most eye-catching moments on Sunday. Suggs, a projected top-five NBA draft pick, consistently ripped through the Bluejays in transition for drives to the rim or assists to teammates for easy buckets.

It was a complete offensive performance, but not a unique one given what we've seen from the Zags all season.

"There's so many ways that they can beat you," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "They're elite scoring at the basket and at the rim. They had 50 points in the paint on us again today, and that's with us trying to take that part of their game away. I think it's their balance. It's one of the best passing teams I've seen, one through five, in that starting lineup in college basketball in a long time."

On Sunday, the Zags' defense did its best to match the offensive efficiency at the other end. An overlooked unit all season, Gonzaga limited Creighton to 0.89 points per possession and 5-of-23 shooting from behind the arc. The Bulldogs entered the game looking to hold the Bluejays -- one of the nation's best and most reliant 3-point-shooting teams -- to fewer than 10 3-pointers. Creighton got only halfway there.

In fact, it was the Bluejays' fourth-worst offensive outing of the season and their second-worst 3-point-shooting effort.

"A couple things they do really well is they really, really absorb and take the scouting reports to hand," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of his team. "They do a great job with their attention to detail for the most part. They've grown in that area. I think Jalen has really grown. Hey, we've got big wings and big guards, big, strong, aggressive guards like Jalen and Andrew. So we can switch a lot. Drew can move his feet. Anton [Watson] can move his feet. So it's always nice to have that option to be able to switch to go with all your other coverages."

Gonzaga is now three wins from a national championship -- and the undefeated record that would come along with it. It would also be the first title for the Zags after so many years of coming up just short.

They're the clear odds-on favorite to cut down the nets, a dominant team at both ends of the floor that hasn't won a game by mere single digits since its third game of the season against West Virginia on Dec. 2. BYU punched the Zags in the mouth early in the West Coast Conference title game, but they fought back to win going away.

Up next is a battle with one of two hot Pac-12 teams, USC or Oregon, and then potentially a date with Michigan or Alabama, two teams that have been ranked in or around the top five for the second half of the season.

And in case you were speculating that the Gonzaga we saw on Sunday is the best Gonzaga we'll get the rest of the way, you're probably wrong.

"I don't think we have peaked," Nembhard said. "We can always get better, and we can always work on our stuff. I think that we're getting close, and we need to squeeze that 5% out that we talk about."

If that's the case, the next three Gonzaga opponents could be in serious trouble.