Gonzaga Covers Monstrous Number Over Fairleigh Dickinson

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 2:44 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019 2:44 PM UTC

One the biggest point spreads of the tournament will involve this No.16 vs. 1 encounter in the West Regional. Do you dare even take it on?

Fairleigh Dickinson (21-13 SU, 19-12 ATS) vs. Gonzaga (30-3 SU, 16-17 ATS)

NCAA Tournament – Round 1

Salt Lake City, UT

Thursday, 7:25 p.m. ET (truTV)

Free NCAAB Pick: Gonzaga ATS

Best Line Offered: GT Bets

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Fairleigh Dickinson Playing With House Money

Until Tuesday, Fairleigh Dickinson has never won an NCAA Tournament game. Getting down 13 points early to Prairie View A&M and trailing 41-34 at halftime having committed 10 turnovers in 20 minutes, it did not look good. But a furious rally fueled by Jahlil Jenkins 20 second-half points and fellow guard Darnell Edge dropping 33, the Knights came from behind to win 82-76 as two-point favorites.

The Knights toughness comes from their coach Greg Herenda, who survived life-threatening blood clots during last year's Final Four. If ever a coach could show their players how to handle real adversity, Herenda did and this on a basketball level becomes the reward.

"We knew we had to fight for him, (Herenda)" Jenkins said. "He doesn't really talk about it too much, but it motivates us, and we know we have to keep fighting like he did."

The college basketball odds have Fairleigh Dickinson as 26.5-point underdogs, but no matter if the Knights cover or not, what UMBC did last season will forever change how we look at 16 vs. 1 matchup, knowing the underdog always has a chance. And if Jenkins and Edge would happen to score 55 points again, that would certainly be true.

Gonzaga In No-Win Situation, Yet Still Needs To Restore Complete Confidence

With the Bulldogs this large a favorite, it is a given they should win their first game of the tournament by at least 20 points. Losing to St. Mary's may or may not have left doubt in coach Mark Few's players' minds, but it definitely slowed discussion of Gonzaga becoming a national champion.

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Mixtape ready to drop in Salt Lake City 🛬#MarchMadness / #GoZags pic.twitter.com/cnPBcvzBXn

— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) March 19, 2019
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The Zags would not the first team to play a start to finish dud and still go on to win a championship. In the Twitter world of public perception, for Gonzaga, this is a Wall State game. Market analysts have set a benchmark and if you come in just under their expectations, it raises eyebrows and if you just beat it (the pointspread in this case), you will get a shrug of the shoulders as ho-hum.

What Few and his coaches want to get is energy, 40 minutes of it after seeing virtually none against St. Mary's. The effort and execution are what matters to the coach and while they are not looking past this game, they know having to face a tricky zone defense against either Baylor or Syracuse next and that will not be simple. This is why playing like a No.1 team matters.

Knights vs. Bulldogs Outcome

This season, Gonzaga has been favored by 20 or more points and is 11-7 ATS. And when even chalkier at -25 or higher, they are 9-2 ATS, though the two losses have come in more recent games. For college basketball picks, this is what this writer refers to as a "want to" game. If the Zags want to play defense and bury Fairleigh Dickinson they win by 30+. If they don't want to they win by 20-25.

For this one, going to side with the "want to" off their horrible showing in the West Coast Conference title game.

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