Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Gonzaga Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers battle it out on Thursday in Pittsburgh in a first round NCAA Tournament game in the East Regional. The Mountaineers are -1 point favorites over the Bulldogs with an over/under point total set at 131.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are a few years past being just a novelty act but at the same time Mark Few’s team needs to finally prove they have what it takes to get past the early rounds when it comes to March Madness. Gonzaga is 12-3 in out of conference games, 4-1 in neutral site games, 1-1 against ranked teams , and they played the 89th ranked schedule in the nation. Kevin Pangos averages 13.8 points, Elias Harris averages 13.1 points and 8,7 rebounds, Robert Sacre averages 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds, and Gary Bell averages 10 points. As a team the Bulldogs are averaging 74 points and they are shooting 47.3 percent while defensively they are allowing 63.2 points and their opponents are shooting 41.3 percent. The Zags have a strong enough lineup to do something this season it is just a matter of them actually getting it done.
The West Virginia Mountaineers had a disappointing season but Bob Huggins’ team gets a chance for a second season. WVU is 10-4 in out of conference games, 4-2 in neutral site games, 1-5 against the top 25, and they are battle tested playing the 15th ranked schedule in the nation. Kevin Jones averages 20.1 points and 11.2 rebounds, Darryl Bryant averages 17.2 points, and Deniz Kilicli is averaging 10.7 points and 5.4 rebounds. As a team the Mountaineers are averaging 71.6 points, 14.6 assists, and they are shooting 44.1 percent while defensively they are allowing 66.2 points and their opponents are shooting 44.6 percent. Bob Huggins is just two years removed from the Final Four and if he were able to make a run this year it could be the biggest accomplishment of his career.
Gonzaga is 4-1 against the spread in their last five neutral site games, 4-10-1 against the spread in their last 15 games overall, and 4-0 against the spread in their last 14 games against the Big East. West Virginia is 13-4-1 against the spread in their last 18 NCAA Tournament games, 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 games overall, and 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 neutral site games.
The total is set at 131 and I don’t see this one getting close so my free pick is on the under.