by Greg Dempson
The team with the most wins in the regular season, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, will attempt to advance to the next round of the tournament when they tangle with the West Virginia Mountaineers at the SAP Center in San Jose with tip time scheduled for 7:39 ET. If the Bulldogs can get past the Mountaineers it will mark their third trip to the elite eight. Gonzaga conclude the regular season with the most victories going 34-1 in a conference that was easier than the gauntlet that West Virginia faced. It should be noted that the Bulldogs did defeat Arizona, Florida, Iowa State, Northwestern and St. Mary’s three times. Gonzaga is long and a very balanced team with five double-digit scores including former Cal Golden Bears starter Mathews, (74-3 pointers made,) Missouri Tigers starter Williams, (10 points averaged while leading the team in boards at 6.6,) as well as Washington Huskies transfer Williams-Gross, (16.7 PPG.)
“Press Virginia” dispatched of Bucknell, (86-80) as well as Notre Dame, (83-71.) They concluded those two contests at +4 in turnovers, +22 in rebounds, and +10 in offensive rebounds. The Mountaineers lost their last regular season game to the Cyclones, a team that Gonzaga defeated earlier in the season.
The Stats Department
Yes West Virginia played the tougher schedule but Gonzaga owns the accuracy edge vs. West Virginia in each and every shooting category, field goals at 51.2% vs. 45.9%, beyond the arc, 37.4% vs. 36.7%, and in the all important free throw category, (which can win or lose your wager at games end,) 72.7% vs. 68.3% for the Mountaineers. Gonzaga’s second chance points were +7.8 vs. +2.9 for West Virginia. The Mountaineers do hold the advantage in bench strength. West Virginia will be challenged by Gonzaga’s two “BIGS,” 7-0, 285 pound Przemek Karnowski (12.4 PPG) as well as 7-0, 230 pound freshman Zach Collins, (10.7 PPG.)
- The Mountaineers re 0-3 straight up an ATS vs. Gonzaga with their most recent loss (77-54,) in the 20012 tournament.
- Gonzaga went 22-9 ATS in all games this season.
- West Virginia is 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 Neutral site games as an underdog plus 0-4 ATS in their last four tournament games when an underdog.
- Gonzaga was 19-0 straight up away from home this season outscoring their opponents by nearly 20 PPG.
Every Edge in Review
I am 10-13 ATS with my official selections at Every Edge and I did wager on this contest.
NCAA Tourney Pick