NCAA Basketball Picks: Wichita State vs. Gonzaga

Darin Zank

Friday, March 22, 2013 3:58 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 22, 2013 3:58 PM UTC

Gonzaga's Bulldogs got a good scare in their NCAA tournament opener Thursday against Southern. Now the Zags go up against a team that might be juiced-up after pulling an upset of its own.

NCAA Tournament Betting Preview: Zags Meet Shockers

They'll run into the Shockers from Wichita State in an NCAA tournament round-of-32 game in Salt Lake City Saturday night (8:40 pm ET, TNT).

Gonzaga's favored by about a touchdown for Saturday's bout; can the Zags not only avoid getting upset, but pull off a cover? Or do the Shockers have another shocker in store?

Zags-Shockers Betting Lines

Most online sportsbooks we consulted Friday morning opened Gonzaga at -6.5 or -7 for Saturday's game, but most then dropped the Zags to -6.

According to Sagarin's PREDICTOR ratings at Gonzaga should be favored by exactly six points for this game. How about that?

As of Friday morning this game had not yet been tagged with an OVER/UNDER.

Also, bettors who think Wichita State might pull the upset Saturday can get the Shockers at +250 on the NCAAB Odds board at BetOnline.

Zags-Shockers Game Set-Up

Gonzaga is the top seed in the West for this tournament, but had to battle like heck just to win its first game Thursday vs. Southern. The Zags were favored by 22 points over the Jags, but the game was tied with four minutes to go. Gonzaga hit a couple of big shots down the stretch, while Southern went cold, and the Zags were able to avoid becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 in tournament history.

Gonzaga shot just 39 percent Thursday but held Southern to 42 percent, as the game played UNDER its total of 130. 

On the underdog side of Saturday's match-up Wichita State, a nine seed out of the Valley, beat Pitt Thursday 73-55, winning outright as four-point dogs. The Shockers led most of the way, pulling away in the final 10 minutes.

Wichita State shot just 39 percent from the floor Thursday, and held the Panthers to 35 percent, but the game managed to play OVER its total of 120 in garbage time late.  The Shockers led 26-21 at the half, so UNDER bettors were probably feeling pretty good, only to have their bubbles burst when the teams combined to score 81 points in the second half.

Wichita State went 12-6 in the Missouri Valley this season, then lost the conference tournament title game to Creighton two Sundays ago 68-65.

Gonzaga went 16-0 in the West Coast Conference this season, then won the conference tournament. The Zags go into Saturday's contest riding a 15-game winning streak.


Zags-Shockers Betting Trends

These two teams are a combined 20-34 on the OVER/UNDERS this season. Gonzaga games have averaged 137 points, while Wichita State games have averaged 130 points.

The Shockers are 3-2 SU and 2-2-1 ATS vs. teams that made the NCAA tournament this season, including Thursday's game. 

The Zags, including Thursday's game, are 8-2 SU and 6-4 ATS vs. teams that made the tournament.

Free NCAA Tournament Pick

For many years “little” Gonzaga was able to play the role of “upstart” in the NCAA tournament; now they're the hunted. And from what it looked like Thursday it's a role the Zags might not be comfortable with. So, we'll take Wichita State, which might just win this game outright anyway, getting 6.5 points at Legends for one of our free picks for Saturday.

College Basketball Picks: The Shockers should shock the Zags +6.5 at Legendz

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