NCAA Basketball Picks for Gonzaga vs. San Diego

Darin Zank

Saturday, February 22, 2014 7:06 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 7:06 PM GMT

Gonzaga's Bulldogs are a win away from another Mountain West Conference regular-season championship, but their ticket to the NCAA tournament hasn't been stamped yet. They've still got three road games to play, and the conference tournament to navigate. 

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NCAA Basketball Picks: 2013-2014 Championship Futures Odds

The Zags won't want to slip up on a game like Saturday night's encounter with the San Diego Toreros down in Ron Burgundy country (midnight ET, ESPN2).

Gonzaga is coming off a cold loss Thursday night at BYU, but the linesmakers are thinking the Zags will bounce back Saturday night. Can they take care of business, and cover the spread? Or are they overrated, and vulnerable to a home dog?

The Betting Line

Most books we consulted opened Gonzaga as a seven-point favorite, and that number had remained steady in the early betting.

Game Set-Up

Gonzaga went 10-2 through a mediocre non-conference schedule, and also lost a non-con game at a ranked Memphis a couple weeks ago 60-54. The Zags are 13-2 in WCC play, but just lost at BYU Thursday night 73-65, shooting just 41 percent from the floor, making just four of 18 shots from long range and committed 16 turnovers.

Nonetheless, Gonzaga leads the West Coast Conference by 2.5 games over the Cougars, with just three games to play.

San Diego started this year 7-1 against a weak schedule, but has gone 8-13 since. The Toreros also recently lost four games in a row, But last Saturday they won at Pacific 70-55 as six-point dogs, and Thursday night they topped Portland 61-59, although they couldn't cover at -3.5.

USD is 15-for-30 from 3-point range over its last two games.

But the Toreros are 15-14 overall and just 6-10 in conference play, and it appears unlikely they'll play anywhere after the conference tournament.

Zags-Toreros By the Numbers

Gonzaga ranks eighth in the country in field-goal shooting at just under 50 percent, 13th in 3-point shooting at just under 40 percent but is only making 71 percent of its free-throws.

At the other end of the court the Bulldogs rank 40th in FG defense at 40 percent, and they're out-rebounding opponents by about three and a half boards per game.

San Diego is shooting 45 percent from the floor this season, 38 percent from long range but just 69 percent from the line. The Toreros are also holding foes to 42 percent shooting, and are out-boarding them by about one per game.

Zags-Toreros Recent History

Gonzaga has beaten San Diego 33 of the last 35 times they've met, including the last 11 in a row. But because the Bulldogs have been favored by so much in this series in recent seasons the Toreros have covered four of the last five meetings.

Most recently Gonzaga beat San Diego 59-56 a month ago up in Spokane, but the Toreros easily covered as 17-point dogs. That game was tied at 55 with six minutes to go.

The Zags shot 48 percent from the floor that night, and held San Diego to 41 percent shooting.

That game also never threatened its OVER/UNDER of 135.

Zags-Toreros Betting Trends

San Diego has lost its last 10 games against ranked opponents.

Gonzaga has leaned toward the UNDERS this season by a 15-11 margin, even though Zags games have averaged 144 total points. So it looks like the books have been over-estimating Gonzaga totals just a bit this season.

The Toreros have played seven UNDERS in their last 10 games. For the season their games have averaged 131 points.

San Diego is 4-8 ATS at home this season.

Free NCAAB Pick

Gonzaga shoots the ball better than San Diego, defends better and is better on the boards. So in thinking the Zags might be a little sharper than they were Thursday night in Provo we'll take them at the -7 points offered at Bookmaker for our free NCAAB pick for Saturday

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