The Gonzaga Bulldogs put their perfect season on the road in Malibu at Pepperdine University on Saturday night. It’s a beautiful school on the ocean in Malibu, but Gonzaga is going to Pepperdine with one thing in mind. They are looking to leave Malibu with a record of 17-0. Following a 90-62 win over the San Diego Toreros on Thursday night, Gonzaga advanced to a perfect 16-0 to protect their No. 1 ranking in the NCAA. Considering the way Baylor is playing, all it will take is one less for the Bulldogs to drop down and be replaced by the Bears at the top spot.
The day before Gonzaga beat San Diego, 90-62, Baylor embarrassed Kansas State by a score of 107-59. The thing is that the Bears could have won by even more than that if they wanted. Gonzaga has the talent to flip a switch and roll up the score whenever they want. After going through the motions for most of the first-half against San Diego, the Bulldogs turned on the jets and torched San Diego in the second-half. Gonzaga led going into the break by a score of 40-29 thanks to a late offensive surge. It all opened up for Gonzaga in the second, as they peppered San Diego for 50 points in a 50-33 half.
If Gonzaga didn’t play so slow for the first ten minutes of the game, they would have easily dropped another 100 points and probably come close to 110 on the board. Like Baylor, Gonzaga can pretty well score on any team in front of them. It would not be the biggest surprise, but a National Championship between Gonzaga and Baylor would make for one heck of a game. They have proven to be the easy No. 1 and No. 2 selections up to this point, and have shown no signs of slowing their freight trains down.
Pepperdine enters with a respectable record of 7-7. They are coming off a nice 76-73 win over the BYU Cougars on January 27. The Waves are 3-2 in the conference, already suffering a loss against Gonzaga on January 14. They hung tough with the Bulldogs in the second half, only down 43-39 at the break. But like I said, this Gonzaga offense can turn it up whenever they choose. Gonzaga pulled away to beat the Waves in the second-half, 52-31. Head below for our free Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine pick on January 30, 2021.
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Pepperdine Waves NCAA Betting Odds:
Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine Prediction:
At what point against Pepperdine is the Gonzaga offense going to catch fire tonight and look unstoppable? It’s really the question if you have to ask in every Gonzaga game this season. If you think they’re going to early in the first-half and continue for a full 40 minutes, then they easily cover. Maybe they come out of the gates slow, and allow Pepperdine to hang around like they did in their first meeting, though? It doesn’t really matter, as Gonzaga has started slow before and still puts up a plethora of points.
The Bulldogs rank first in the NCAA with 94.1 points per game. They are also first in field goal percentage at 55%. It’s quite impressive to see a college team, with only 40 minutes to work in a game, to rack up an average of 94.1 points a game. They’ve done this against good teams as well, not just cream puffs. Gonzaga netted 102 points against Kansas, 87 against West Virginia, 99 against Iowa, and 98 points against Virginia.
They’ve taken their foot off the pedal against some of these bad teams, so it’s within reason they’d be averaging over 100 points per game. They’ve shown no regression on the road, as the Bulldogs have posted 93 points per game as a visiting team. Corey Kispert, Drew Timme, and Jalen Suggs have been a force together, with Kispert leading the Bulldogs in scoring with 20.5 points per game.
Pepperdine is 250th in the NCAA with 73.4 points against per game. It’s unlikely that they’re going to pressure the Gonzaga offense at all. Like I said, it’s more of a question of when Gonzaga wants to start running the score up. Their best chance of keeping pace is saying bombs away offensively. In a primetime game on ESPN on a Saturday night with the country watching, I could see the Bulldogs going fast right out of the gate. The Waves have to run and not stop.
The Waves are in the top-100 in the country with 76.1 points per game. They were keeping pace in the first-half in the first meeting, but fell off after halftime. At home in Malibu, look for Pepperdine to do a slightly better job keeping up. It likely won’t be enough, though it’ll be entertaining watching them trying to. The spread has a backdoor written all over it, but the OVER seems to be worth consideration. I like a 93-75 or 98-70 final score.