No. 1 Gonzaga No Longer Favored to Win West Region?!

Jason Lake

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 3:31 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2017 3:31 PM UTC

They’re the No. 1 seed in the West Region, but heading into the Sweet 16 the Gonzaga Bulldogs are second behind the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats on the NCAAB odds list.

So the Gonzaga Bulldogs have yet to beat the college basketball odds at this year’s NCAA Tournament. The No. 1 seed in the West Region experienced some turbulence in each of the first two rounds, but Gonzaga did win both games straight-up without too much concern, advancing to its third straight Sweet 16 in the process.

That plus 25 cents will get you a hot cup of jack-squat. Gonzaga is no longer the favorite to win the West and make the Final Four; at press time, that honor goes to the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats. Arizona is available at +140 on the March Madness futures market at Bovada, followed by Gonzaga at +175, then the No. 4 West Virginia Mountaineers (+400) and the No. 11 Xavier Musketeers (+1000). Great googly-moogly.

Cool For ‘Cats

This might have more to do with the way the March Madness bracket is laid out than how the market sees Arizona relative to Gonzaga. The Bulldogs will meet West Virginia Thursday evening (7:39 p.m. ET, TBS) in the Sweet 16, then the Wildcats will play Xavier in the nightcap (10:09 p.m. ET, TBS). The Musketeers are no slouches, but they’re not quite as potent as the ‘Cats.

Ken Pomeroy concurs. His updated efficiency stats have WVU ranked No. 6 overall in Division I, while Xavier checks in at No. 30. How big a difference is that? Roughly 10 points per 100 possessions in this case. Gonzaga remains the No. 1 overall team on the Pomeroy charts, 17 spots ahead of Arizona – and nearly nine points better per 100 possessions – but having to play West Virginia does give the Wildcats a boost.

It’s still not enough of a boost. Not according to the hoop nerds at FiveThirtyEight; they’ve got Gonzaga reaching the Final Four 46 percent of the time, while Arizona projects at a mere 26 percent. Granted, the ‘Cats are 4-0-1 ATS stretching back to the start of the Pac-12 Tournament, so if you believe in the power of the hot hand feel free to put them in your NCAAB picks. But at these prices, we’ll gladly take Gonzaga here at the home office, thank you kindly.

Free NCAAB Pick: Gonzaga +175Best Line Offered: Bovada
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