16th ranked Virginia, who is off to a 4-1 start, travels to take on undefeated and #1 ranked Gonzaga. The Cavaliers were upset in their second game of the season by San Francisco and have played a very easy schedule, especially up against Gonzaga who has already taken on, and defeated three ranked opponents.
These teams couldn’t be much different. Virginia relies on one of the most efficient defenses in college basketball, while the Bulldogs have one of the top offenses in the nation.
Virginia Betting Preview
The Cavaliers have gotten off to a shaky start and have not had the opportunity to face any top tier opponents before heading into conference play. That will change today as Virginia faces the odds on favorite to bring home the national championship in Gonzaga.
Marquette transfer Sam Hauser leads the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game. He is shooting 43.5% from three-point range and is also grabbing six rebounds per game.
Jay Huff is second in the team in scoring (11.6) and first in rebounds (6.2). Huff and Hauser will provide an interesting matchup against Drew Timme and Corey Kispert, who have been the most dominating frontcourt in college basketball. Huff is also really shooting it well from behind the arc at 44.4%.
Virginia is ranked 14th by Kenpom. The offense ranks 53rd in efficiency and the defense is 3rd.
Gonzaga Betting Preview
The Bulldogs continue their challenging non-conference schedule as they play yet another ranked opponent. The 6-0 Bulldogs have taken down Kansas, West Virginia and Iowa already this season. Unless the Baylor game gets rescheduled, this may be the last real shot at someone knocking off Gonzaga before the NCAA tournament.
Corey Kispert (20.8) and Drew Timme (20.3) are both averaging over 20 points and have had their way with opponents so far this season. While West Virginia is very good defensively, the matchup against Virginia should be the biggest challenge for the Gonzaga offense.
Freshman standout Jalen Suggs is the other Bulldogs player averaging double figures at 16.3 per contest. Timme and Joel Ayayi lead the team in rebounding at 7.5 per game. Gonzaga is averaging 94.7 points per game and shooting 55.1% from the field.
Kenpom has Gonzaga as the number two team in the country. Their offense ranks 2nd in efficiency while the defense is 14th.
Cavaliers/Bulldogs Betting Lines
Mybookie has Gonzaga as 9-point favorites. The total is set at 140 points.
Free Betting Pick
If you look at their schedules for this season it looks like an easy victory for Gonzaga. Virginia lost to San Francisco and had to use overtime to defeat Kent State. The Cavaliers are yet to defeat anyone ranked inside the Kenpom top 140.
Regardless of all that the Virginia team has been playing very efficient defense. Hauser and Huff will create a very tough test for Timme and Kispert. Virginia’s slow tempo will also help keep the game close, and if Huff can stay out of foul trouble the Cavaliers may even pull off the upset. I like Virginia to cover the 9.
Virginia 67, Gonzaga 73
Spooky Express Free Pick: Virginia +9