Colorado State (1-0) at Gonzaga (1-0)
Often early in the season, legitimate top 25 teams, such as the Gonzaga Bulldogs, are given a cupcake schedule and although the Colorado State Rams are far from pushovers, they’re a team that has lost 6 consecutive games against ranked opponents and 22 consecutive games against ranked opponents on the road. The Rams had 26 wins last season, but all of their starters have moved on and this has to give the 15 point favorite Bulldogs a lot of confidence.
A Tall Order
Replacing Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris will be a difficult task for the Bulldogs as you’re talking about one of Gonzaga’s all-time leading scorers and rebounders, but the Bulldogs proved to play well in their 1st game of the season, a 100-76 victory over Bryant State. Senior center, Sam Dower, got off to a fast start as he led his team with 21 points and 17 rebounds. Dower stated after the game that he felt more comfortable starting than coming off the bench, and Gonzaga will need his production as the difficulty in opposition will only get greater.
The backcourt is Gonzaga’s strength and where they have the experience. Both Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. chipped in with 14 points apiece in the season opener and look for them to be major factors in tonight’s game.
Mountain West 6th Man Of the Year
Colorado State is coming off of a huge game in which they shot 60 % from the field and defeated UC Col. Springs, 99-70. A win is a win, but we have to look at the opponent. In this game, guard transfer Daniel Bejerano led the way for the Rams with 17 points, an impressive 16 rebounds, and 5 assists. 16 rebounds are impressive at any collegiate level when you’re just 6 foot 4, but don’t expect him to control the glass against Gonzaga.
Bejerano will get much more opportunity with the Rams than he did with Arizona and expect him to be a factor in this game from a Colorado State perspective.
Gonzaga has a definite advantage with established players and transfers like Gerard Coleman, but we’re very early into the season and Colorado State is a good enough team to at least cover the 15 points being asked for by the NCAA basketball odds makers.
Long Beach State (1-0) at Arizona (1-0)
Don’t Look Ahead
Although Arizona is a heavy 19 point betting favorite in this game and they feature one of the nation’s most highly regarded freshman in Aaron Gordon, they must deal with the three-time defending Big West Champion Long Beach State 49’ers. That said, Long Beach State has never beaten Arizona and were defeated quite easily in last season’s matchup.
Arizona could possibly be one of the teams contending for a national title when all is said and done, but this is a young team with Gordon who produced 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks in the season opener and freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who had 10 points and 5 rebounds in the 73-62 victory over Cal-Poly.
The Wildcats are a very deep team as they proved against the inferior Mustangs and had 6 players in double figures in a 7-man rotation. Duquense transfer, T.J. McConnell was the only player to score in single digits, but set up his teammates as he led the team with 6 assists.
Long Beach State will look for experienced players junior guard Mike Caffey and senior forward Dan Jennings to come up big in a huge spot. Both players had a great start to the season as Caffey led the way against Hawaii Pacific with 27 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals and Jennings had recorded a double-double. There is also a bit of a revenge factor as Caffey was totally ineffective in the loss last season to Arizona.
This game could come down to “will Arizona’s lack of experience affect them adversely?”
Arizona has much more talent than their opponent and Long Beach State played well against a much lower classed opponent, but 19 points is a lot to lay for a team that has some players looking to gain much needed experience. Look for Long Beach State to cover the large 19 point betting spread.
Pick- Long Beach State +19 at Bet 365