Gonzaga fought off UCLA in epic fashion in one of the greatest college basketball games ever. They have no time to celebrate though, as they must now finish the job against the Baylor Bears who beat the brakes off the Houston Cougars. Despite barely surviving, Gonzaga got exactly what they needed tonight, they were tested and pushed to their limits. Something that needed to happen in order for them to beat Baylor.
Free Picks: The Game March Madness Deserves
A Perfect Season
I am elated to have this National Championship. These have been the best two teams in college basketball all year and it is only fitting that one of them shall be crowned national champions. On paper this game is razor tight, but NCAAB odds have made the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs 4.5 point favourites. Some may see this line as too high, but I see terrific value in Mark Few’s squad.
Gonzaga needed overtime and an extraordinary shot from Jalen Suggs to finally vanquish the UCLA Bruins. Playing like their lives were on the line, Gonzaga never looked flustered and did not waver. UCLA had an absurd shooting performance; Gonzaga forced UCLA to shoot 25 of their 59 field goals from the mid-range and UCLA hit 17 of those 25 shots. For reference NBA players shoot approximately 40-41% from the mid-range, the Bruins played out of their minds and still could not take down Gonzaga.
Baylor will give Gonzaga all they can handle, but the Bulldogs are going to have a far better defensive performance. Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few can use that game as a lesson to his players that they are not invincible and he will stress urgency and intensity against Baylor, whose energy can be overwhelming. However, Baylor’s defense has started to show some cracks.
Baylor’s interior defense had trouble against Arkansas and Villanova. Now they face the most efficient interior shooting team of all-time, as Gonzaga shoots 64% from inside the arc. Despite UCLA’s heroic effort Gonzaga shot 62% inside. Baylor is great at defending mid-range shots, but at the rim they only defend at 62.3. This is bad news as 48.1% of Gonzaga’s shots come at the rim. One of my free picks is Gonzaga over 82.5 (-116 10Bet), as I love Gonzaga to use ball movement and off-ball cuts to carve up this defense..
This game feels like a nailbiter, but I cannot see Baylor overcoming their interior flaws and coming out on top. I have Gonzaga winning 88-81 in a terrific contest. My BetPicks Best Bet is Gonzaga’s spread.
- Gonzaga is 16-13-2 ATS this season
- The Over has cashed in 16 of Gonzaga’s 31 games this season
- Baylor is 19-10-0 ATS this season
- The Over has cashed in 18 of Baylor’s 29 games this season
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Mark Few and Gonzaga have the chance to put their Final Four demons behind them with a win over the upset-happy UCLA Bruins and Mick Cronin.
Baylor and Houston, separated by three hours of highway from central to southeast Texas, face each other in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 3 (time to be determined) for a spot in the national championship game.
UCLA has, somewhat luckily, played its way through four NCAA tournament wins and into a regional final matchup with top-ranked Michigan on Tuesday, March 30 at 9:57 p.m. ET.
Gonzaga comes across its toughest test yet of March as they face the USC Trojans. Skill meets size in what should be a terrific Elite Eight clash.
Josh Saslove here, I am a passionate sports fan and have been consumed by sports for as long as I can remember. I have been a sports bettor for the past 4 years, starting out with betting on college basketball parlays. I currently write pieces for BetPicks, but have my own blog space. I am an avid fan of the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Raptors, Kansas City Chiefs and Toronto Blue Jays, so I know what it's like to cheer for the underdog. The 2017 ECF run by the Ottawa Senators and the Raptors 2019 NBA title are probably my fondest memories as a fan, as well of course the Chiefs Super Bowl win in 2020. I am also a big music fan and have been called Mac Miller by strangers on several occasions.