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2017 March Madness Final Four – Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

2017 March Madness Final Four – Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview


No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 7 South Carolina Preview

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona

When: Saturday, April 1, 2017, 6:09 PM ET

Line: Gonzaga Bulldogs (-6.5) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (+6.5); total: 137.5 – view all NCAA Basketball lines

TV Broadcast: CBS

Writer’s Prediction: South Carolina Gamecocks (+6.5)


College Basketball News and Previews


Betting on the Gonzaga Bulldogs (-6.5)

The Gonzaga Bulldogs emphatically ended Xavier’s Cinderella run as they demolished the Musketeers, 83-59. The Zags offense was simply unstoppable. Star man Nigel Williams-Goss bounced back from his awful game against West Virginia to lead the way with 23 points and 8 rebounds, while fellow transfer Johnathan Williams also came up huge with 19 points and 8 boards. Gonzaga as a team shot 12-of-24 from beyond the arc.

The Zags comfortably covered the 8.5-point spread, and are now 1-2-1 ATS in the tournament.

Gonzaga could very well be the most well-rounded team in the Final Four. They have four guys who can get the team buckets with Williams-Goss, Williams, Przemek Karnowski and Jordan Mathews. Seven-foot freshman Zach Collins is also a difference-maker off the bench.

The Gonzaga defense is still the better part of their game, though. They’re now No. 1 in KenPom.com’s defensive efficiency rating. That defense saved them when their shots weren’t falling against West Virginia, as they held the Mountaineers to 26 percent shooting, including 5-of-23 from the 3-point line. They did a similarly impressive number on the Musketeers, who went just 35 percent from the field and 2-of-16 from three.

South Carolina will make things very tough for Gonzaga with their stifling defense, but the Zags’ Sweet 16 win against West Virginia proved they can adjust their style of play and still come out on top.

Betting on the South Carolina Gamecocks (+6.5)

The South Carolina Gamecocks’ magical tournament run continues. SC outlasted SEC rivals Florida, 77-70, to reach its first Final Four in program history.

To the surprise of no one, the Gamecocks rode the gameplan which has given them great success – play outstanding defense and let Sindarius Thornwell carry the offense. Thornwell had a team high 26 points, while their terrific zone defense limited Florida to just 42 percent from the floor, and just 7-of-26 from beyond the arc.

Thornwell has been nothing short of sensational in the tournament. The Gamecocks’ senior guard is the tourney’s leading scorer with 25.8 points per game, and is grabbing 7.5 rebounds. He’s gotten enough help from sophomores PJ Dozier (15 points) and Chris Silva (13 points) to keep the Gamecocks offense going.

But the defense is without a doubt the team’s biggest strength. South Carolina is actually No. 2 in KenPom.com’s defensive efficiency rankings behind only Gonzaga. All four teams the Gamecocks have beaten in the tourney are in the top 25 in offensive efficiency – Marquette (9), Duke (7), Baylor (24), and Florida (23), which is quite a feat.

West Virginia was able to slow down Gonzaga’s offense with relentless pressure from their guards, and South Carolina’s backcourt will have the best chance of replicating that success. Thornwell will likely take it upon himself to shut down Williams-Goss, which will go a long way in limiting the Zags attack.

Writer’s Prediction

Gonzaga once again finds a way to pull out the win, but South Carolina’s defense keeps it close and covers (+6.5).

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Brad
Written by Brad

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