NCAA Basketball - Total Too High In Washington-Gonzaga Matchup

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 2:10 PM GMT

A pretty decent lineup of games is on Wednesday's card, and we're focusing our free NCAA basketball pick on the late one between Washington and Gonzaga.

Season: 13-10 (+2.00)

Chris Petersen and the Washington football team face a tough task later this month when they go up against the Alabama Crimson Tide in one of the CFP semifinals. Lorenzo Romar and the hardwood Huskies face a similarly tough job Wednesday night when they hit the road for an encounter with the No. 8 Gonzaga Bulldogs.

The final game on Wednesday's card takes place at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, ESPN2 televising the tip a little past 11 PM (ET). BetOnline hung a -15½ point burden on Gonzaga, a spread that could easily jump to -16, and 168½ is your total.

 

Huskies Have To Play Defense To Pull Off Upset

Romar and his Huskies arrive in Spokane off consecutive defeats at the hands of TCU. Washington and the Horned Frogs met in the Global Sports Classic at Las Vegas about 10 days ago, Jamie Dixon's charges posting a 93-80 decision as 1½ point favorites on the NCAA basketball odds. Three days later, the teams got together in Ft. Worth for a scheduled meeting and the Huskies appeared to be ready to hand TCU its first loss by building a 17-point first half lead that disappeared almost as quickly as it came about. The Frogs pulled away in the second half for the 86-71 final that more than beat the seven points they were giving up at home.

The Huskies have been great on the offensive end of the floor, freshman Markelle Fultz leading five in double-figures with a 22.7 scoring average plus more than six rebounds and assist per game. But they're in the bottom quadrant of the country defensively surrendering 79.7 PPG, repeatedly allowing open looks on the perimeter.

That's a huge contrast to Mark Few's troops who have been solid at both ends of the floor. Led by five players averaging 10.0 PPG or higher, the Bulldogs rank in the top 50 in scoring (83.5 ppg) and shooting (48.4%), all while holding opponents to 64.6 PPG and harassing outside shooters to a 27.5% success rate from long range, 15th-lowest in the country. Gonzaga is also a top 25 squad on the glass pulling in 41.4 rebounds a contest.

 

'Zags Shooting For 3rd-Straight Win In Series

As the schools prepare to meet for the 45th time, Washington has a pretty solid 29-15 advantage in the Evergreen State rivalry. It's been all Gonzaga recently, the Bulldogs winning the last two and nine of the last 10 clashes. Their matchup last year came in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, an 80-64 triumph for the 'Zags as 9½ point chalk. That contest stayed 'under' the 169 point total, stopping a run of three consecutive 'over' winners.

Since losing those two games to TCU, Washington has been idle while Gonzaga remained in synch with a couple of games. How intense the Huskies come out from the beginning will dictate if they are going to hang close. Both sides have the shooters to send this game well past the total, but for my free college basketball pick, I'm banking on the final falling short.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 168½ Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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