Our college basketball analyst deciphers through the specifics pertaining to the South Regional Final between Gonzaga and Duke. Join us in reading his intriguing look regarding this matchup and the betting preview article concludes with an ATS selection.
Dream Matchup in South Regional Final
The two top seeds will meet in the South Regional Final on Sunday when #1 Duke collides with #2 Gonzaga. The game will take place in Houston, Texas with the opening tip slated for 5:05 PM ET. According to the NCAA Tournament odds at Pinnacle, Duke is a 2.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 144.5.
Gonzaga seeks first ever “Final Four”
The Gonzaga Bulldogs will be appearing in just their second “Elite Eight” in school history on Sunday, and it’s their first since 1999. The Bulldogs will also be out to advance to their first ever “Final Four”. After a lackadaisical effort during a 86-76 round two win over #15 seed North Dakota State, Gonzaga has been nothing short of spectacular in their next two games. The Bulldogs dismantled what was a red-hot Iowa team at the time by a decisive 87-68 margin, and covered easily as a 6.0 point favorite. Then on Friday they dominated the second half of their “Sweet Sixteen” 74-62 win over UCLA, during a game that quite frankly wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate. That contest stayed under the total of 145.0, and it broke a string of five straight going over the number for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs also covered as an 8.5 point favorite.
Some Things never Change
This will be the thirteenth time that Duke has reached the “Elite Eight” since Mike Krzyzewski took over as head coach in 1980. The Blue Devils will also be looking to advance to their twelfth “Final Four” under “Coach K”. Duke has yet to be severely tested in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, defeating Robert Morris 85-56, San Diego State 68-49, and Utah 63-57. Although the Utah contest would be appear to have been a tough game on the surface, Duke was able to keep the Utes at bay for the entire second half, and led by as many as 16. Duke covered in each of those first three games of the Tournament, and they’ve been fueled by some terrific defensive play. They allowed an average of only 54.0 points per game, and held those three opponents to a miserable 34.8% shooting from the field. The Blue Devils have gone under the total in five consecutive games, and in seven of their previous eight contests.
This is a Gonzaga Bulldogs team with very few if any glaring weaknesses. They have size, quality depth, and are superb perimeter shooting team. They’re one of the few teams in the nation that matches up very well with Duke. Despite the Blue Devils being my pick to win the East Region prior to the start of the tournament, I've seen enough to change my mind. I look for it to be a magical day for Gonzaga, and that’s who I’m using for one of my NCAA Tournament picks on Sunday.
NCAA Tournament Pick: Gonzaga +2.5 over Duke at Pinnacle