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2017 March Madness Sweet 16 – Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

2017 March Madness Sweet 16 – Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview


No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 West Virginia Preview

Where: SAP Center – San Jose, California

When: Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7:39 PM ET

Line: Gonzaga Bulldogs (-3) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (+3); total: 150.0 – view all NCAA Basketball lines

TV Broadcast: TBS

Writer’s Prediction: Gonzaga Bulldogs (-3)


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Betting on the Gonzaga Bulldogs (-3)

No. 1 Gonzaga was given all it could handle by a plucky Northwestern team. Eventually, the Bulldogs were able to outlast the Wildcats, 79-73. The Zags came nowhere near covering the 10-point spread as favorites, though. They’re now 0-2 against the spread in the tournament, and 3-5 ATS in their last eight games.

Gonzaga’s star guard Nigel Williams-Goss bounced back from his quiet 9-point outing in the first round to lead the Zags with 20 points, with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. However, he’s still not shooting particularly well in the tournament (just 10-of-32 in the first two games).

Nevertheless, the Zags will pose a tough matchup precisely because of Williams-Goss, as well as fellow transfer Jordan Mathews. Those two give Gonzaga two very capable and athletic ballhandlers to help senior Josh Perkins break the dreaded West Virginia press.

Meanwhile, Gonzaga has a very good frontcourt, one that’s helped them become an elite defensive rebounding team (29.2 per game, No. 2 in the country). They should be able to neutralize the Mountaineers’ ability to crash the offensive boards.

West Virginia also couldn’t contain Notre Dame’s talented 6-5 “big man” Bonzie Colson, who erupted for 27 points and 8 rebounds. Seven-foot freshman Zach Collins has had a very good start to the tournament, averaging 12 points and 5.5 boards in two games, and could have more success against an undersized Mountaineers team.

Betting on the West Virginia Mountaineers (+3)

West Virginia did what West Virginia does best against Notre Dame. They made life miserable for Irish point guard Matt Farrell with their relentless press, and never let the ruthlessly efficient Irish offense get going. They strolled to an 83-71 win, and covered for just the second time in their last 10 games (2-7-1 ATS).

The Mountaineers might have a tougher time inflicting that same type of pressure against the Zags. But with five days to prepare, don’t put it beyond Bob Huggins to devise a gameplan that gives the Zags some problems.

West Virginia isn’t quite as good a rebounding team as in years past, but it will still work like hell on the glass. And as Northwestern showed, an undersized team can still compete on the boards against the Bulldogs, who just edged the rebounding battle, 42-36.

The big X-factor for the Mountaineers will be which Jevon Carter will show up. The junior guard had an excellent game against Notre Dame with 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Despite being the team’s leading scorer, Carter (13.3 points per game) is hardly the most consistent scorer. But West Virginia needs him to come up big once again if they’re to bring down the No. 1-seed Zags.

Writer’s Prediction

Gonzaga’s ability to prevent turnovers and crash the boards limits the West Virginia offense enough for the Zags (-3) to win and cover.

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Brad
Written by Brad

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