No. 16 Virginia is set to play No. 1 Gonzaga in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, a task that it will be up for. Gonzaga has been piling up the wins and NBA Draft picks over the last several seasons, and it’s something they have done thus far this year with a 6-0 beginning to the season.
The Bulldogs are scoring a whopping 95 points per game, good for third in the country. Defensively, they could stand to be a bit better, as they are surrendering about 77 per game.
But, the Bulldogs are deep, they keep winning, and are a group that is hard to slow down. Mark Few has continued to do a masterful job with Gonzaga.
Virginia, on the other hand, should be happy with its 4-1 start to the year. The Cavaliers are allowing just 55 points per game, as Tony Bennett’s defensive scheme is still stymieing whoever the other team that walks in to play them is.
Scoring points against the Cavaliers is something that is a tall task and may remain so, even for the top defense in the land.
The top-ranked Bulldogs are set as nine-point favorites, with the over/under sitting at 140.5.
Gonzaga Looking to Make it 7-0
It’s going to be very hard to beat a team when it has two guys scoring over 20-plus points per game. That has been the case with this Bulldogs team, as they are sharing the love, having three players in all that are scoring 16 or more points per contest.
Corey Kispert is leading the way with 20.8 points per game, shooting 46% from three on his first 42 attempts. Then you have Drew Timme, averaging 20 points and eight boards per game.
Both of these guys are shooting 60% from the floor in all, something that would be impressive if it was the truth for one guy. But it is, for two in this case.
The Bulldogs also have a potential top pick in next year’s draft named Jalen Suggs. He’s averaging 16 points, six rebounds and six assists while shooting 57% from the floor and 50% from three.
Cavaliers Aiming to Pull an Upset
There is only one way that Virginia can get the win in this game. If it can play some of its well-known elite defense and stop its opponent from scoring the ball at will, perhaps it will have a shot. Because the Cavaliers’ identity is on the defensive end, the offense leaves a lot to be desired.
Virginia’s leading scorer is averaging 13 points per game in 2020-21. Sam Hauser is shooting 57% from the floor and also pulling down six boards per contest.
Look for him to be more aggressive in trying to score. The same goes for Jay Huff and Trey Murphy, each averaging 11 points per game.
Without its stellar defense, Virginia might lose this game by 25 or more points. Something’s gotta give.
Gonzaga Keeps It Perfect
The Bulldogs are No. 1 for a reason. The Bulldogs improve to 7-0 as they knock off Virginia.
Free Pick: Gonzaga -9