The Gonzaga Bulldogs were ousted earlier than expected from last year’s “Big Dance,” stunned as No. 1 seeds in a 76-70 loss to the Wichita State Shockers. Mark Few’s squad has lost seniors Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris to graduation, but has guards Kevin Pangos and David Stockton coming back.
Pangos piled in 17.5 PPG during March’s pair of tourney battles, while Stockton followed in his father John’s footsteps with leading the team’s season in assists (3.4 APG). The duo will be joined by returning trio San Dower, Drew Barham and Kyle Dranginis. What does this mean for your sports picks?
Morrison, Wiltjer added
Bulldogs alum Adam Morrison has rejoined his school’s staff as a coaching assistant, returning for classes in Spokane. The 29-year-old went on to play four years in the NBA, winning a pair of titles with the Los Angeles Lakers as part of Phil Jackson’s bench.
Gonzaga has recruited Kyle Wiltjer for its frontcourt hopes this year, transferring the redshirt sophomore in from Kentucky. Wiltjer notched 10.2 PPG last season, winning the Southeastern Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year award.
Freshmen Ryan Edwards and Lucas Meikle come into the Bulldogs’ roster, looking to fill some depth at center and power forward, respectively. Meikle heads east to join Gonzaga after his high school years at Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep, while Edwards moves west from nearby Kalispell, Montana.
“Zags” remain dark horses
Gonzaga is a 50/1 long shot to win this year’s college basketball championship at WilliamHill, while 5Dimes.eu has listed a price of 65/1. The Bulldogs have won seven West Coast Conference championships over the past 10 years, with last season’s biggest competition coming from the Saint Mary’s Gaels and BYU Cougars.
November’s regular season starts with a ‘cupcake’ clash at home with the Bryant Bulldogs, followed by a trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. December’s road dates include stops against the West Virginia Mountaineers and Kansas State Wildcats, while Few’s crew visits the Memphis Tigers in February.
Gonzaga notched a spread record of 17-14-2 last year, including an 8-6 mark in home affairs. ‘Total’ players saw the ‘Under’ collect at a 20-9-1 clip, with the season’s final 18 duels going 15-2-1 for the wager.
The Bulldogs should cash their share of NCAA picks again this year, but the team’s rebuilding should keep them from surprising high seeds in the “Big Dance.” Look for Few’s squad to be a bit overvalued out of the gate in the NCAA odds, while later pulling out some ATS covers in a few tough spots.
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