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
More College Basketball Free Pickssee more
Syracuse is on another deep run into March as a double digit seed, they will need to get through Houston to punch their ticket to the Elite Eight.
USC and Oregon meet on Sunday, March 28 at 9:45 p.m. ET in the third round of the NCAA tournament. It’ll be their second matchup this season, albeit the previous one is well in the rearview mirror.
Loyola Chicago is back in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three tournaments, while Oregon State returns to this stage for the first time since 1982 when they meet on Saturday, March 27 at 5:15 p.m. ET.
Arkansas is supposed to be here. Oral Roberts isn’t. But on Saturday, March 27 at 7:25 p.m. ET, these teams will meet in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
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.