The Creighton Blue Jays will get their crack at the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the round of 16 on Sunday at 2:10 PM EST. Creighton will look to be the first team of the season to hand the Zags a loss while they look to move on to the elite eight. Where will our expert sports pick go for this one?
Creighton has shook off some turmoil in the locker room to defeat a couple of impressive mid-majors in UC-Santa Barbara and Ohio. After really struggling with the Gauchos in the round of 64, winning 63-62, the Jays manhandled the Ohio Bobcats by a tally of 72-58.
Gonzaga has performed as expected thus far in the tournament, discarding a pesky Norfolk State team that tried to poke the Zags ultimately failed. Oklahoma gave the Bulldogs are run but fell short in the final ten minutes as Mark Few’s team pulled away and won 87-71. Drew Timme was dominant in the Oklahoma game, pouring in 30 points while snagging a game high 13 rebounds.
Bovada has the spread favoring the Gonzaga Bulldogs by 13.5 points while the total is currently set at 158 points. Gonzaga is heavily juiced at -1100 on the moneyline while Creighton is a big money play at +650 to win straight up.
Creighton has the pieces
Creighton was impressive in the Ohio game as they came out of the game strong and led by 15 at the half. Marcus Zegarowski has been phenomenal in the dance, avering 18.5 points per game and only committed a single turnover in the game against Ohio. He will need to be equally effective and efficient in this game as he faces one of the most exciting point guards in the nation in Jalen Suggs.
The key to this game will be how Christian Bishop defends Drew Timme. Bishop is an undersized five man at just 6’7 but is athletic. If he is able to at very least compete with Timme and keep him off of the offensive glass, that in itself should be considered a victory.
Creighton has one of the most talented perimeters in the entire nation and if they are making jumpers this upset could happen. Zegarowski is flanked by Denzel Mahoney, Damien Jefferson, and Mitchell Ballock, all of whom are capable three point shooters.
The Blue Jays are just 14-16 against the spread on the season and 1-2 straight up as the underdog. They are comfortable playing away from home, winning 11 of their 16 games on road and neutral courts.The total has gone under in four of their last five game.
Gonzaga trying to bulldog their way to the title
There is not a whole lot that can be said about this Gonzaga that hasn’t already been stated ten times over. This team is the most talented team in the country with an insane amount of depth and one of the best coaches in the nation.
The Bulldogs rarely have off shooting nights and even if one of them does struggle, they have guys on the bench like Anton Watson. Watson entered the Norfolk State game and went 6-6 from the floor and logged 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in just 24 minutes.
Though they are undefeated on the season, Gonzaga is just 14-12-2 against the spread this year. However, in neutral site games, they are 7-2 ATS. That can obviously be attributed to the fact that they play in the WCC and the spreads are huge. The total has gone over in just 15 of their 28 games on the season.
The pick is Gonzaga.
The record against the spread is a bit concerning but the Bulldogs are 6-3 ATS in their last nine games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games this month.
The Bulldogs cover and the total goes over.