BANKER (Gonzaga vs. San Francisco)
Gonzaga got a real test from San Fran in their first meeting as Gonzaga only had a 3-point lead at halftime and trialed for parts of the 1H, but I think the Zags are going to come out much stronger in this contest. Gonzaga is having another incredible season and they have played some of their best ball on the road this season. They went into BYU and had a 24-point halftime lead, led by 19 at the bread vs a solid Santa Clara team, and have led by at least 14 in all their true road games this season. Zags have been getting it done with their electric offense this season as they are currently ranked 2nd overall in adjusted offensive efficiency, 2nd in offensive field goal percentage, 25th in 3-point percentage, and number 1 in the nation in offensive 2-point percentage at 61.8%.
San Fran has played fairly solid on defense this season but one thing that no one talks about is how good Gonzaga has been on defense. This has largely been due to the addition of Chet Holmgren who is an elite rim protector and challenges several shots with his size and length at 7’0 tall. Gonzaga is currently ranked 6th in overall adjusted defensive efficiency, 1st in defensive effective field goal percentage, and 3rd in defensive 2-point percentage. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider that Gonzaga plays at the fastest pace in the country so their opponents will have more possessions per game compared to other teams who play at a slower pace. Bottom line here for me is that Gonzaga just has too much offensive firepower. I also think their defense is being undervalued and see them coming out strong tonight in the first half. Score Prediction: 46-32 Gonzaga 1H
A little juice on this but I think both teams are in a solid position to lead at halftime here. Arizona has been one of my favorite teams to bet on this season because of their explosive offense. They can put up points in a hurry and can go on big time runs to create margin in their games. In their first meeting with Utah, they slept walked through the 1H and still ended up with a 3-point lead before eventually winning the game by 18 points. They are in a very similar spot as I mentioned above with Gonzaga in the sense that they both started slow, finished strong, but failed to cover the number. I think Arizona starts this game guns blazing and probably goes into the half with a double-digit lead. I will probably be on Arizona 1H spread later tonight as well but I also think Arizona 1H ML is a great parlay piece to use here. Score Prediction: 42-33 Arizona 1H
USC is an interesting team who can be very streaky. At times last year, they struggled to score due to a lack of consistent guard play but this season they added Boogie Ellis from Memphis and he has solidified the point guard position for them. USC has been one of the 10-20 best teams in the country all season largely due to their length, athleticism, and tenacity on defense. USC is currently ranked 5th overall in defensive effective field goal percentage, 43rd in overall adjusted defensive efficiency, and number 1 overall in 2-point percentage defense. In this game, they face an Oregon St team who was winning at halftime in their first meeting as nearly 17-point underdogs. USC then stormed back to win in the 2H but failed to cover the number. I hope you are starting to see a pattern here. I think USC will be able to carry that momentum and confidence they built in the 2H of their first meeting, into a strong 1H performance here and think their 1st half ML is a great parlay piece. Score Prediction: 41-28 USC 1H