NCAA Tournament Betting -- Gonzaga wants to show it's still here, and still dangerous

  • In Charles Jay
  • Fri, Mar 29th, 2024 10:10:14 am
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

The Pudue Boilermakers and star center Zach Edey will take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Sweet Sixteen action at Detroit on Friday.

Prediction and preview for Gonzaga vs Purdue

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (27-7) went to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament in both 2017 and 2021. The latter of those was a disappointing result against Baylor, which ruined an undefeated season.

BetOnline customers understand that the 'Zags are not as good as they were at that time, but sometimes in the Big Dance it's a matter of drawing the right opponents at the right time.

Gonzaga March  Madness free pickGonzaga is set to face the Purdue Boilermakers (31-4) in Sweet Sixteen action in this tournament, and it will begin at 7:39 PM ET at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

The Bulldogs were not the best team in the West Coast Conference this season; they were beaten two of three by the Saint Mary's Gaels, including the WCC title game.

But while Saint Mary's got upset by Grand Canyon, the 'Zags have moved like a buzzsaw through two pretty good programs in the tournament.

McNeese State had 30 wins but Gonzaga won 86-65 and had five players in double figures. Anton Watson led the way with 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Then Mark Few's squad came on like a hurricane against Kansas, trailing them at the half but then blowing by them as soon as the second half began. Again, there were five Gonzaga players in double figures, and team shot 60% from the field. Watson, a senior from Spokane, had 21 points in that game.

Gonzaga can shoot. They are seventh in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, according to the metrics available from KenPom. They are particularly adept shooting inside the circle and inside the lane, as they are seventh in the country in that category as well.

In the NCAA Tournament betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetOnline, the Boilermakers are the favorites:

Purdue Boilermakers -5.5
Gonzaga Bulldogs +5.5

Over 154.5 points -110
Under 154.5 points -110

And if you want to wager on more stuff, try Prop Builder, which lets you explore all the angles, for both teams and players!

For Gonzaga to advance, it has to deal with Zach Edey. And they have gotten a preview of him.

This is a unique tournament game, in that these squads met already in the regular season. Gonzaga had a nine-point first half lead at one point but the Boilermakers passed them and went on to a 73-63 win. Edey was hard to stop, with 25 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots, and he demonstrated why he won the 2023 Player of the Year award and might do the same this year.

Purdue NCAA Tourney free pickNeither team shot well from a distance in that game. Purdue was four of 17, with Gonzaga really bricking it (six of 32). So perhaps we can expect that these teams will operate what they know best.

Except wait a minute. That subpar performance from Matt Painter's crew was out of character. They are in fact the top three-point team in the nation, hitting 40.9% of their attempts. One guy who Gonzaga had better not leave alone is Mason Gillis, who doesn't take a whole lot of shots from beyond the arc but connects when he does, at a 48% rate.

Purdue destroyed its last opponent, nailing eleven triples in a 106-67 win over Utah State. As long as Edey can stay out of foul trouble, this inside-outside thing they have is going to make them too well-rounded for Gonzaga.

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