Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
Date and Time: Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7:39 p.m. ET
Location: SAP Center, San Jose, CA
College Basketball Odds: Gonzaga -3, O/U 148
Gonzaga vs. West Virginia TV Coverage: TBS
College Basketball Odds
Gonzaga was great at covering spreads this season, particularly in non-conference action. Prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs were 7-2 ATS and had secured wins over teams like Florida, Iowa State, and Arizona. However, since March Madness kicked off, the Bulldogs have been a little shakier. They did win their first two games, but failed to cover the spread in either and got a bit of a scare from Northwestern in the second round.
Nigel Williams-Goss must be ecstatic to be playing at Gonzaga. After two years at Washington, he transferred to the cross-state rival and has shined all season long. He stuffs the stat sheet in every game with 16.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 4.7 APG, and is hitting 50 percent of his field goals and 90 percent of his field goals to boot. Williams-Goss will have the ball in his hands a lot against the pressing WVU defense and will need to create plays and prevent turnovers.
West Virginia has had some difficulty covering spreads in recent weeks. Although the Mountaineers easily covered against Notre Dame to make the Sweet 16, they are just 2-6 ATS over their last eight games.
WVU is an extremely deep side, but Jevon Carter is the player it turns to when it needs a basket. Carter leads the team in points and assists and is one of two players that stays on the floor for 30 minutes a night. He also leads the team in steals with 2.5 and will put all sorts of pressure on Williams-Goss to make the right decision.
There’s no secret as to what the Mountaineers are going to try to do. West Virginia is forcing three more turnovers per game than any other team in college basketball and even forced 14 turnovers out of a veteran Notre Dame team in the second round. WVU constantly rotates defenders in and out of the lineup to provide pressure on every possession and that leads to mistakes, especially against teams with inexperienced guards.
Gonzaga is one of the least error prone teams in the country, turning the ball over just 11.3 times a game. Some of that is Williams-Goss and some of that is a factor of playing in a relatively weak conference however. Notre Dame committed the second least turnovers of any team in the country despite playing in the ACC and still turned the ball over often against the press. If it can happen to Notre Dame, it can happen to Gonzaga as well.
Gonzaga vs. West Virginia Free Picks
The other battle to watch between these two teams is rebounding. Both sides are great at pulling down the ball, but the Zags haven’t done it against a team as tenacious as the Mountaineers. WVU has Nathan Adrian, Esa Ahmad, and a slew of other guys that are at least 6’8 that can protect the glass and that will test a Gonzaga team that has been hesitant to use its big man thus far in the tournament.
Gonzaga should have a bit of a home advantage with the game being played in San Jose, but West Virginia can wreak havoc on you wherever you are. However, Few is one of the best coaches in America and will be having his team work on handling the ball all week and that will drive a Gonzaga win and cover.
Gonzaga vs. West Virginia ATS Pick: Bet on Gonzaga to cover the short number
Gonzaga vs. West Virginia Score Prediction: Gonzaga 69, West Virginia 64