Gonzaga vs. Arizona Pick NCAA Hoops – Dec 6th

It wasn’t always pretty, but even during extreme stretches of offensive ugliness and a few brief Texas rusn that got the game as close as five points, the game never felt like one Kentucky could lose. They were simply so much more physically dominant than one of the biggest and most physical and athletic teams in the county in Texas. I botched the line a bit as I grabbed the overnight line off an aggregate site – I wantde to get a column up before shoulder surgery (perhaps two sources were a little overzealous in posting a total) but my prediction that Texas would struggle to score 50 points was an accurate one. I think that’s probably a sentence you can cut and paste for most of the season and it will be interesting to see how Vegas responds with their lines.  By the way, I’m typing all columns left-handed only for a few day, but I will try my best to clean up the hundreds of typos!

In other action, Kansas stormed back at the Phogg to erase a 17 point deficit and eventually put Florida away with dome room to spare. The loss drops Billy Donovan’s squad to 3-4, but they at least showed flashes of the athletic promise that had them ranked in the Top 10 preseason. However for 25 minutes of that game, and especially the second half as things unraveled, they were far too tentative offensively. If they don’t get more assertive looking for and creating shots and pushing tempo, this team will struggle offensively all season.  Kentucky might hold em to 40 in Rupp…

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Today’s Free Pick:

Gonzaga Bulldogs at Arizona Wildcats -4.5

For all the hype over Duke v. Wisconsin and Kentucky v. Texas, this could very well be the best game of the week. Gonzaga is starting to creep a bit into the national consciousness after their hot start, but is still largely left out of the “best team other than Kentucky” discussion. Today is their chance to show they really shouldn’t be.

The biggest obstacle, aside from a wonderfully talented Arizona team, is the fact that the game is at the McHale Center where Arizona rarely loses. This is the first true road game that either team has faced this season, so there is a little trepidation, but I think there great blend of veteran scoring, great size and good defending both inside and out will be the difference today.  Arizona has more depth with athletic four men like Brandon Ashley and crew, but the Zags will be one of the few teams they will face all season with an overall edge in the paint.

I’ve been big on the Zags from the outset of the season, and think they may be the second or third best team in the country. Today will be a very tough challenge, but I like the advantage at point guard with Pangos over McConnell, and I like the depth inside with Prezmek and Sabonis getting the edge over Caleb Tarczewski. The Cats haven’t looked to certain or purposeful on offense despite their 7-0 record.  They have been underwhelming against teams far less talented and deep than GU. Its clear to me Arizona hasn’t adjusted to life without Nick Johnson (and to a lesser extent, Aaron Gordon) quite yet. Finding offense won’t be a problem for the Zags.

I’ll take GU with the points and don’t be surprised if they beat them straight-up.

Free Pick: Gonzaga Bulldogs +4.5

Chris Scheeren / Author