NCAA Championship Betting Odds & Preview: Sizing up the Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Gonzaga Bulldogs (31-0 SU, 17-12-2 ATS) will hope to do something that hasn’t been done since 1976 when they take the floor on Monday night. They seek to become the first undefeated national champion in 45 years. But they have to defeat the #2 team in the country as they face the Baylor Bears.
It begins at 9:20 PM ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It will be televised live on CBS, and with “Live Betting,” customers at BetOnline can make real-time wagers.
Here are the numbers……
These are the NCAA Championship odds that have been posted on this game:
|Baylor||+4½ (-110)||159 (-110)||+170|
|Gonzaga||-4½ (-110)||159 (-110)||-200|
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It’s about firepower, baby
Gonzaga comes to the table with an offensive array that is unmatched in college basketball. They are ranked #1 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency as per the metrics gurus at KenPom. And speaking of metrics, there is another called “Effective Field Goal Percentage,” in which they rank first as well.
The ‘Zags are also the nation’s best when it comes to making shots from two-point range, with 63.9% accuracy. They are also 37% from beyond the arc, indicating that they are more than capable from that part of the halfcourt. But statistics demonstrate that they are not dependent upon that kind of thing. In fact, only 24.8% of their total points have come from triples.
This is a “go-fast” team
They are not airtight when it comes to holding onto the ball, although they aren’t bad either. Gonzaga ranks 34th best in Offensive Turnover Percentage. Maybe one of the factors is that they are a team that is fast-paced on offense, shooting the ball within 14.4 seconds of the clock. They simply get rid of it before there is a chance to throw it away.
Gonzaga has a great deal of balance when it comes to offensive weaponry. Drew Timme, the sophomore out of Texas, averages 19.2 points a game. And he’s done even better than that over his last four games (25 ppg). Corey Kispert tallies 18.8 points per contest. And before a two-for-eight performance against UCLA, he had been hitting 50% of his shots from beyond the three-point arc.
There’s a lot more. Jalen Suggs, the 6-4 guard who is the most highly-touted prospect the program ever recruited, has scored 14.1 points per game, adding 5.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists. And of course, he hit the winning shot at the buzzer that brought the ‘Zags to this championship game. Suggs is going to be drafted very high by some NBA team this summer; perhaps in the top three.
Joel Ayayi, a native of France, is expected to be a first-round pick as well. He averages 12.2 points per game, along with seven rebounds. And he is a 39.4% shooter from long range. Andrew Nembhard, who transferred from Florida, more or less functions as the point guard. He had eleven points and eight assists against UCLA.
The thing about Gonzaga is that anybody could be the “point” on any given play, as everybody can handle the ball. That is what makes this continuous motion offense work. And it must be noted that aside from having great moves around the basket, Timme is an excellent passer.
When Gonzaga gets out and runs, whether off an opponent’s miss or a turnover, they are hard to stop. Suggs is lethal with the ball in the open floor. And everybody is a great finisher.
They can stop folks too
Gonzaga is also eighth in the nation in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, although not many people think of them as a defensive team. They know how to finish stops, as they are 18th nationwide in Defensive Rebounding Percentage. They can do a good job of making their opponents uncomfortable in the halfcourt setting. UCLA went 8-for-17 from the three-point line against them in the national semi-final. Up until then, they were giving up just 28% triples in the tournament.
How they intend to win
Baylor likes to pick up the pace. Gonzaga clearly invites that kind of game and feels they can do it better. They intend to use Timme on the inside. And they also hope their size in the backcourt presents problems for Baylor.
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