College Basketball Betting Favorite: Memphis -4
Gonzaga and Memphis will square off in a rare February high profile non-conference matchup in Memphis on Saturday night. These are both top 25 teams that are in the thick of a battle for the top of their respective conference standings, but for this night they’ll step out of the conference to take on another big name program. The winner of this game will definitely help their NCAA Tournament seed because of the high profile nature of this game.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs were really the first mid-major team to become a big name in the country as a whole. Gonzaga is a small school on the West Coast, so many people don’t get to see their games, but the Bulldogs made a name for themselves with their NCAA Tournament runs. Now, Gonzaga is considered a powerhouse, because they are a very good team every year. This Gonzaga team lacks the star power that many others have had, but Mark Few is an excellent coach and he gets a lot out of this team.
Kevin Pangos is the team’s best player, and he is a veteran leader at the point guard spot. Pangos is a very good shooter, and even more importantly he makes great decisions with the basketball. Sam Dower has turned into the team’s best frontcourt player. Dower has long arms and is a great shot blocker, but he has progressed in a big way on the offensive end this season. He is very effective around the rim, and he shoots 85% from the charity stripe. The Bulldogs aren’t as dominant this year, but they still have plenty of weapons to make you pay if you don’t bring your best effort.
The Memphis Tigers issue seems to be consistency. A recent two-game stretch is a perfect example of their inconsistency. Josh Pastner’s team was beaten 69-53 at home against Cincinnati, but they turned around the next game and beat Louisville on the road. Which Memphis team will show up in the big games? That’s the question bettors have to ask each time when handicapping this team. Memphis is at their best in a fast-paced game, which is why Louisville was a good matchup for them. The Tigers struggle against teams that slow them down, such as the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Joe Jackson is the guy that makes this Memphis team go. He isn’t a prolific scorer, but Jackson is an excellent point guard. He takes care of the ball and knocks down free throws in the clutch. He is a play maker who gets his teammates a lot of good looks at the basket. Michael Dixon has given the team extra depth in the backcourt and Geron Johnson is the team’s best defender. Chris Crawford is the team’s most consistent outside shooter. Freshman Austin Nichols has been a nice scorer on the inside for the Tigers. He’ll need to hold his own against Gonzaga’s quality big men in this contest.
Prediction: Memphis 70 Gonzaga 68
This game is a great chance for Gonzaga to be seen on a national level, and Mark Few’s team should be ready to go. They’ll keep it close, but Memphis definitely has a talent advantage. I like Memphis to win a close one.
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