NCAA Tournament Betting — Gonzaga Feels It Fits Well Into Underdog Role Against Arizona

The Gonzaga Bulldogs think they might have gotten hot at just about the right time as they enter their second game in the Big Dance. There is a very difficult assignment ahead of them, as they have to see if they can do some business against the Arizona Wildcats, for one of the toughest teams in the country to score baskets against. These two teams will get together in NCAA Tournament betting action that is scheduled to tip off at 9:40 PM ET at the Viejas Arena in San Diego.

Gonzaga is 29-6 straight up on the season, with an 18-15 record against the points. Arizona is 31-4 straight up, and 20-14 against the basketball odds.

In the NCAA Tournament betting lines that have been established on this game at WagerWeb, Arizona is the sizable favorite:

Arizona Wildcats -7.5
Gonzaga Bulldogs +7.5

Over 128 points -110
Under 128 points -110

We don’t know if there is a whole lot to be concluded from Arizona’s first game against Weber State, where they were able to cruise to a 68-59 victory, which did not come to close to covering the 20-point impost against the basketball lines. Certainly the Wildcats did what they had to do on the defensive end, holding Weber State to just 30% shooting from the field. They had done a similar job in the first two games of the Pac-12 tournament, holding Utah and Colorado to less than 28% combined and TOTAL of 82 points. According to metric systems, such as that employed by data expert Ken Pomeroy, Arizona is the most efficient defensive team in the country. Gonzaga, however, is not very far down the list, at # 15.

What WagerWeb patrons may want to take from Arizona’s game against Weber State is the following: although the Wildcats managed to hold their opponent to 25% shooting inside the three-point arc, they did indeed allow 41%, quite a bit higher than usual, from downtown. This is one place Gonzaga wants to strike from.

The Bulldogs’ Friday win was much more hard-earned, as they had to go up against an Oklahoma State team that had shown some life after the return of guard Marcus Smart, and they were able to get a big game from Kevin Pangos, who scored 26 points. One of the things that is critical to remember here is the effect on Arizona since the loss of forward Brandon Ashley. He was not their biggest scorer, but he was an industrious player who knew how to make his own shot, and he was also a stalwart on defense. Much of the vacuum left by his absence was filled by freshman Aaron Gordon, who is going to be an outstanding player, but can be something of a liability when he’s a major part of the offense, since he makes only 43% of his free throws. At a critical time, can he knock down his opportunities from the charity stripe? That is something WagerWeb customers need to consider.

As a team, Arizona only hit 65% from the line, and the real percentage there might even be lower, since Ashley’s injury took him out for the season. Normally that is the kind of thing that makes it more difficult for a team to extend leads. And the Wildcats do not thrive on making three-pointers, by the way other teams in this NCAA field do. Maybe this is a spot for the underdog.

Game on! Get your 50% bonus for sports betting right now at WagerWeb and get in on the March Mayhem!


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