BANKER (Tarleton vs. Gonzaga)
Gonzaga comes into this game off a very tough loss to Duke in one of the most entertaining games of the young season so far. They were 9-point favorites in that game and the size of Duke really bothered them inside with Banchero, Williams, and John. Now they get a cupcake matchup with Tarleton State who has actually played Michigan and Kansas tough to start the year.
While Tarleton State has done somewhat well vs KU and UM, I think Gonzaga is going to be a little hungrier in this matchup compared to their other cupcake matchups. Gonzaga is the number one team in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, 2P%, and number 3 in the country in effective FG%. Gonzaga will also have a large height advantage in this matchup with Timme and Holmgren inside as Tarleton is one of the smallest teams in the country.
One of the things I look for in these matchups with large spreads is can the favorite get easy baskets? Or will they need to rely on outside shooting? Which can be hot and cold. In this matchup I don’t see Gonzaga’s guards having any trouble penetrating into the paint to create opportunities for layups and drop offs to Timme/Holmgren. I also see Gonzaga feasting on the inside with their height advantage and tenacity on the offensive end.
Tarleton is bottom 300 in the country in defensive effective FG%, 2P%, and 3P%. They really struggle on the defensive end, and I think Gonzaga will be locked in on defense. Only question here is will Gonzaga pull off the gas into the 2H? I actually trust the backups to keep pouring on as Gonzaga’s backups would be starters at nearly every other school in the country so I don’t think we will see a back door here either.
Oral Roberts made a name for themselves last year by making an incredible sweet 16 run and were one shot away from the elite 8. They have one of the best natural scorers in the country in Max Abmas as he can score at all 3 levels. He can get to the rim, pull up from midrange and can Knock down the 3 at a very high rate.
Oral Roberts as a team has somewhat struggled to this point but they are just outside of the top 100 in offensive efficiency and are 3rd in the country in TO% meaning they take very good care of the ball. They face Tulsa in this local matchup and Tulsa really struggles to score but has great athleticism on the wings. Overall, I think Oral Roberts will get an uptick in their decisive performance playing at home and having the best player on the court will hopefully lead them to a win here.
Wyoming faces Cal State Fullerton in an interesting cross conference matchup. Wyoming has been impressive so far starting off the season 5-0 and it is mainly to do with their defense. Wyoming is number one in the country in effective FG% on defense which is a stat I’m sure most people would not know or expect. They are also number 3 in the country in 2P% defense and 4th in the country in 3P% defense so they really do a great job at defending all levels. Cal State Fullerton comes into this game at 3-3 and have played fairly well but have struggled on the offensive end.
CSF is 212th in the country in effective FG% on offense and are in the bottom 300 in the nation in offensive 3P% so they really don’t shoot the ball very well from any level of the floor. Overall, I think Wyoming will suffocate CSF with their defense and I believe Wyoming will be able to score enough on offense to come away with the win.