Coming off of a very easy 2-0 on Friday we look for a repeat performance in NCAA Hoops on this last Saturday of the year 2013. Check out what college basketball picks we think gives you the best chance to be on the plus side again.
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Santa Clara (7-6) vs. #24 Gonzaga (10-2)
Time For Inter-conference Play
Gonzaga looks to retain its WCC title from a year ago as the Bulldogs have dominated at home against teams in their conference, going almost 3 years without a loss. Their unlucky opponent, the Santa Clara Broncos, have won 4 out of their last 5 games overall look to keep the momentum going. Does Santa Clara have any shot here as the Bulldogs are a 16.5 point betting favorite on the college basketball odds board and feature one of the most efficient offenses in college basketball?
Zigged When They Should’ve Zagged
All joking aside folks, the Bulldogs are coming into this game on a bad note as they lost to Kansas State 72-62 in their last game. This was a very poor offensive showing for Gonzaga as they shot 33.3% from 3-point range and were outscored 19-7 from the charity stripe while shooting just 7 of 15 from the line.
Foul shooting played a large role in this game, but it just wasn’t Gonzaga’s night as their 3rd leading scorer, Gary Bell Jr., went just 1 of 7 from the field for just 3 points. Gonzaga has their own “Big 3” in Kevin Pangos (18.3 ppg.), Sam Dower (13.8 ppg.) and Gary Bell Jr. (13.5 ppg. ) and Bell having a bad evening would be like Chris Bosh having a poor game for the Miami Heat.
Gonzaga looks to bounce back against a very beatable opponent in an atmosphere in which they excel. Expect “The Big 3” to go big in their first WCC game of the season. This is a team that shoots 52.2% from the field, 43.5% from 3-point range, and averages a healthy 85 points per game.
Santa Clara comes into this game with an inspiring 66-65 victory over South Florida as Jarod Brownridge knocked down 2 free throws with 10 seconds to go to give the Broncos the victory in the Las Vegas Classic. Brownridge will be a key player in this game, but needs to be more consistent on the offensive side of the ball.
In his last 5 games, he’s produced 3- 20 plus point performances and has averaged just 6 points in the other 2 games. Santa Clara’s leading scorer, Brandon Clark (15.8 points), has also shown that same type of inconsistency and against Gonzaga, these players need to be at their best.
Look for Gonzaga to forget about the loss to Kansas State quickly and beat a team that they totally overmatch.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Gonzaga -16.5 at 5 Dimes
Providence (10-2) vs. #23 Massachusetts (10-1)
Can UMASS Regroup?
The Minutemen are coming off of their first loss of the season after 10 consecutive wins. This is the best start that UMASS has gotten off to since the Marcus Camby Era. Can the Minutemen bounce back from a game against Florida State in which their starters shot just 16 of 50 from the field? They’ll need to do so quickly. Although Providence comes into this game as an 8.5 point underdog, they’re far from being pushovers.
While UMASS is ranked in the top 50 in all major statistical offensive categories, Providence is the team coming off of their biggest scoring output this season in a 94-70 victory over Maine. All 5 starters scored in double figures for the Friars while Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Butts both put up 20-10 games on a combined 18 of 27 from the field.
Cotton is the leader of this squad and although he’s been a really poor shooter from the field this season, he’s been a different player in his last 2 games going a combined 16 of 28 from the field and was 6 of 12 from 3-point range against Maine. This is a player that plays spectacular defense and has that often used word known as “potential”.
Providence’s offense can’t compete with Massachusetts’, but Massachusetts has something to prove after coming off of a loss.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Providence -8.5 at 5 Dimes