NCAAB Free Pick: Slower Pace & Defense Dictate ‘Under’ for Utah State and Gonzaga

Willie Bee

Saturday, November 18, 2017 2:39 PM UTC

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 2:39 PM UTC

Just ahead of a huge Thanksgiving week schedule, college basketball bettors are left with a thin slate tonight when one of the best games is Utah State visiting Gonzaga.

Free NCAAB Pick: Utah State-Gonzaga Under 147
Best Available(-105) at Heritage[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3343327, "sportsbooksIds":[169,180,999996,93,227], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]

Season: 2-3 (-1.15)

You’ve heard of post-holiday blues, right? Well, what we have Saturday on the college hoops schedule is pre-holiday blues as the sport lays low before a reaching a crescendo of marquee matchups in several tournaments over Thanksgiving weekend.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any games worth watching today, and one we’re really interested in will be streamed on ESPN3 this evening when the Utah State Aggies visit the Gonzaga Bulldogs. A nice crowd should be on hand at McCarthey Athletic Center for the 10 PM (ET) tip that finds the Bulldogs -16 across the NCAA basketball odds board, the books also in synch with a 147 total. Utah State has won the last five meetings and holds a 5-1 lead in the series, though that streak has been on hold for nearly 47 years with the most recent matchup in December 1970.


Perimeter Defense, 3-Point Shooting Define Aggies
The Aggies will spend the next two weeks racking up frequent flier miles with this matchup, this stop in Spokane the first of a 5-game road trip for Tim Duryea’s charges. Utah State opened the season away from Logan with a clash at rival Weber State, Bookmaker closing it a pick ‘em and the Wildcats prevailing by a 65-59 count. The Aggies followed that up relying on their outside shooting in an 81-73 win over Montana State and an easy 83-47 rout of Mississippi Valley State in an unlined affair.

Lacking big bodies in the paint, Utah State lives and dies by long-range shooting, more than 42% of its attempts coming from behind the arc. The Aggies may not have Koby McEwan, one of their top 3-point shooters, at 100% for this one; the sophomore out of Toronto injured an ankle in the win over MVSU, and is expected to suit up but could see his minutes limited.


’Zags Should Dominate In Paint
After opening with a couple of glorified scrimmages against Howard and Texas Southern, Gonzaga faces its toughest foe of the early season in Utah State. The Bulldogs are guaranteed to meet even tougher sides next week in the inaugural PK-80 event at Portland where they face Ohio State in the opening round and either Florida or Stanford after that with the potential to face Duke or Butler along the way.

Keeping his squad focused on this matchup in advance of next week’s tournament might be Mark Few’s toughest job tonight. We know the Aggies will try and slow the pace with a very deliberate half-court offense, but the Bulldogs should have a tremendous advantage inside and still need to try and force transition opportunities. I’m going ‘under’ with my free college basketball pick.


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