Gonzaga, rather quietly, is the new No. 2 team in the land. But the Zags still have their doubters. With style points in mind Gonzaga is a two-touchdown favorite on the road at San Francisco Saturday night.
Zags-Dons Betting Odds
Most college basketball odds opened Gonzaga at -13 or so, with a total of 142.5. Most books then bumped the Bulldogs to -14 in the early action.
Those who believe in minor miracles could get San Francisco at +885 to win this game outright on the moneyline at 5Dimes.
Zags-Dons: Different Directions
Gonzaga was the clear preseason favorite to win the WCC again this season, and appears on its way toward realizing that goal. The Zags are also playing for national recognition, and a good seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. So style points count for Gonzaga, and blowouts certainly don't hurt.
The Bulldogs have won 16 games in a row, after beating Santa Clara Thursday night 77-63. Gonzaga actually trailed at the half, but rallied for the victory. However, in the end the Zags couldn't quite cover as 15-point favorites. They shot 69 percent from the floor Thursday, but only 64 percent (14/22) from the free-throw line, and committed an uncharacteristic 14 turnovers, 10 in the first half. Also, the Broncos hit nine of 18 three-point attempts. That's why the Zags didn't cover.
One week ago the Bulldogs bombed Memphis in a non-conference match 82-64, covering at -17. At 11-0 in conference play Gonzaga leads the WCC by two games over second-place St. Mary's.
San Francisco, on the other hand, has lost four games in a row, after Thursday's 69-57 decision at home against Portland Thursday night. Before this season started the Dons harbored reasonable hopes of another upper-division finish in the WCC; instead, they're struggling to stay out of last place.
USF led by three at the half Thursday night, but went cold in the second half and lost outright as a four-point favorite. The Dons shot just 36 percent for the game, and got outrebounded 39-28.
Last Saturday San Francisco led at the half at San Diego, but lost 77-69.
So at 3-9 in conference play USF sits in ninth-place in the 10-team WCC.
Gonzaga took the first meeting between these teams this season one month ago 88-57 up in Spokane, cashing in as 20-point favorites. The Zags only led by seven with 15 minutes to go, then finished the game on a 42-18 run for cover.
Gonzaga shot 53 percent from the field, and held San Francisco to 41 percent shooting.
That game played OVER its total of 135 as the teams combined to score 81 points in the second half.
The Bulldogs have taken the last five meetings from the Dons by an average of 19 points.
Zags-Dons Key Stats
Gonzaga is shooting 53 percent from the floor this season, which leads the nation, and 41 percent from 3-point range. On the other end of the court the Zags are dogging opponents into 38 percent shooting.
San Francisco is shooting 46 percent from the floor, just 61 percent from the line, while holding opponents to 43 percent shooting.
Zags-Dons Betting Trends
Gonzaga is 12-7 on the OVERS this season, as Zags games have averaged 141 points.
San Francisco is 7-6 on the totals, as Dons games have averaged 139 points.
Six of the last seven meetings in this series have played UNDER.
Zags-Dons Free Pick
This looks like a good spot to play the better team on the road, where the spread is more manageable. When these teams played up at Spokane a month ago Gonzaga was favored by 20 points; it covered that spread by 11 points. What's changed since then, other than the venue? Not much.
Free College Basketball Pick: Gonzaga -14 at Pinnacle