The college basketball regular season concluded this weekend with some fantastic action, and fortunately for us, a pair of winning plays. We cashed in on Cincinnati yesterday and Kansas on Saturday as two better teams on the road were able to travel and still get the W… by the way, instances like those make for nice NCAA Tournament teams as well – the ability to win basketball games on the ROAD matters are there will be no more cozy home games for the nation’s elite from here on out…
A few tickets have already been punched for the Big Dance. Belmont may have been surprisingly eliminated and all-but certainly heading back to the NIT, but Florida Gulf Coast and Winthrop punched their tickets with resounding conference championships – if you are looking for an early Cinderella, ding ding ding. Meanwhile, Illinois State SHOULD also be permitted to crash the party – a loss to Wichita State isn’t a big deal. But losing AGAIN to them in blowout fashion casts a large shadow on an otherwise dazzling 27-6 record. And by the way, perhaps rather than fading Illinois State, we should realize, UH OH, it’s March and here come the Shockers…
Championship Week starts today and most major leagues have the day off, but that doesn’t mean we have a blank slate of action. Far from it. The Colonial and Southern Conference hand out their respective bids tonight and the WCC semifinals feature a nice matchup between BYU and St. Mary’s as well as Gonzaga’s first game back since their stunning loss at home to BYU.
Today’s College Basketball Pick:
Santa Clara Broncos vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs -21
Our first foray into the Gonzaga arena was a rough one, as some of you may remember (or have reminded me…). They LOST straight up, at home, as 100 point favorites to BYU. Ok, the line was a little slimmer, but you get the point. Insanity.
But the numbers are still the numbers, and here they are:
Gonzaga’s 2016-2017 WCC performance – 18-1 straight up, 9-0 on the road. Average margin of victory on the road in the mid-twenties. 7-1-1 ATS on the road, despite laying a dumptruck of points in a hostile gym ready to take every school’s best shot. They are 14-4-1 ATS overall in league play.
Meanwhile, Santa Clara was good when Steve Nash was there… In all seriousness, the Broncos have lost their last three games to Gonzaga by an average of 29 points and haven’t beaten Gonzaga since 2007. Gonzaga is refocused after their loss and seems to be ready to pulverize their competition in the WCC Tournament. They dispatched Pacific by 32 without really exerting themselves.
This one is a mismatch, and despite an embarrassing swing and miss against BYU, the numbers are compelling for the Zags. They are able to eat points as well as any team in recent memory, so the 20 doesn’t scare me tonight.
Today’s Pick: Gonzaga Bulldogs -21