Gonzaga plays their first game in eight days on Monday when they face the tournament-cemented San Francisco. The Dons virtually punched their ticket by distancing themselves for most of Saturday night against a desperate BYU Cougars team.
The game is the Bulldogs’ first game back since losing on the road to Saint Mary’s. DraftKings has Gonzaga as a 14.5 favorite, but Gonzaga is a 82-71 favorite according to KenPom.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Meet the opponent
San Francisco 24-8, 10-5 in WCC, KenPom #21
In a semi-final game that feels like the epilogue for one team and the prologue for another, the Zags will likely look to get back to executing their preferred style of play and shake off whatever rust and pent-up frustration they bared from their rough loss. Meanwhile, while the game surely still matters for the Dons, it’s hard not to assume that they’re pleased with a decisive, catapulting victory and looking to conserve some of the house money they earned in Vegas.
San Francisco big man Yauhen Massalski missed significant minutes in the second half of Saturday night’s game and while it does not appear serious, the team is open to resting him for the national tournament knowing that they’re likely in it. Couple that with guards Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz (who is still recovering from a broken nose) playing a combined 76 minutes on Saturday night, it’s not clear how aggressive Golden’s team is going to be coming in.
What to watch for
If Massalski is limited, expect Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren to come out white-hot as they look to correct their performance from the Saturday before last. The most efficient tandem was 5 for 17 against the Gaels but have been a combined 32 for 56 in their two games against the Dons. And that was with Massalski playing 31.5 minutes per contest.
Rasir Bolton said after the loss in Moraga that practices were going to be a battle leading up to their first game on Monday. How the Gonzaga guards impart the lessons they learned on defense in that downtime will be key for not just the WCC tournament but the big one following it. Gonzaga has the depth and pieces to be havoc-causing but we haven’t seen it consistently. Shabazz and Bouyea combined for 40 points on Saturday night and were 50% from three-point. If Gonzaga can drive them off of the three-point line this game is clinched early.
While the Dons may not be playing for a whole lot after their last big win, the Zags are still looking to clinch seeding and being the overall seed in the tournament. That path does not allow for another loss before next Sunday. It should be interesting to see what shape these guys will have after a brutal performance and with the odds still in their favor.