Gonzaga (35-1) vs. Xavier (24-13) Prediction & Game Preview
NCAA Tournament: Gonzaga vs. Xavier fearless prediction and game preview.
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Date: Saturday, March 25
Game Time: 6:09 pm ET
Venue: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, CA
What’s the deal with Gonzaga?
It hasn’t been an easy ride for a No. 1 seed, but is Villanova playing this weekend? How about dangerous high seeds Arizona and Duke? For all the hand-wringing throughout the season about whether or not Gonzaga was for real – with a big record in a bad conference – it’s in the Elite Eight.
The Bulldogs got by West Virginia on defense, holding the Mountaineers to just 26% from the field and 22% from three. So what did it come down to the final shot? West Virginia killed the Zags on the boards with a ridiculous 20 offensive rebounds and a 41-34 overall advantage.
With balanced scoring inside and out, timely shooting, and the one big late stop, they moved on. Now they have to start hitting their free throws, missing 11 of their 32 tries.
What’s the deal with Xavier?
At some point, the Musketeers are going to stop being so plucky. You’d never know it after rolling through Maryland, Florida State and Arizona, but Xavier really isn’t all that great at playing college basketball.
It can’t hit free throws, but it did just enough to put down 11-of-16 vs. the Wildcats in the 73-71 win. It can’t stop anyone from outside, but Arizona hit just 26% of its threes. It can’t pass the ball and it turns it over way too much, but it was dead even with the Pac-12 champs in turnover margin.
Outrebounded, often outplayed, and with too many lulls, Xavier shouldn’t have won that game. But it fought back from two big deficits, hit 53% in from the field, and now it’s in the Elite Eight, and you’re not.
What’s Going To Happen
No, Xavier isn’t going to get in the way of Gonzaga’s destiny. For a team that finished second in the nation in shooting, and second in the nation in field goal defense, and is fantastic on the boards – they’re not going to get out rebounded by Xavier – this is where the Musketeer fun stops.
No way, no how, does Xavier hit from 53% from the field like it did against Arizona.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Gonzaga 75, Xavier 69
Line: Gonzaga -8
ATS Confidence: 1.5
5: Leave Vegas richer in body, mind & spirit
1: Leave the sportsbook, get tickets for Menopause The Musical or Puppetry of the Penis