The Gonzaga Bulldogs start their first March Madness run as a No. 1 seed Thursday when they battle the No. 16 Southern Jaguars.
After years of middle and lower seeds, the WCC champs earned a top seed for 2013 in the West Region. Their foes got here by winning the SWAC conference title and face a 21.5-point spread in the opening game.
Gonzaga has won 14 in a row SU and have been trending UNDER the total (14-1-1 past 16 Zags games). But the Jaguars are on a hot 19-3 SU run in their past 22 games.
Southern counts heaviily upon guard Malcolm Miller while Gonzaga gets solid contributions from Kelly Olynyk (forward), Elias Harris (forward) and Kevin Pangos (guard).
This season, the Bulldogs are 31-2 overall and 17-12-2 ATS ATS, while the Jaguars are 23-9 and 5-1 ATS against the number. As for the totals, Gonzaga boasts a 9-19-1 on the OU, and Southern is 2-1.
If you were backing the visitors in this one, the Jaguars were listed as 21.5-point underdogs earlier in the day at . The total was sitting at 127 at TopBet earlier in the week.
Power Rankings / Prediction:
This game matches up the No. 4 (Bulldogs) and the No. 93 (Jaguars) teams in the league, according to our current NCAAB power rank. A 84-76 result in favor of the Bulldogs has been projected by the scores prediction engine.
How They Match Up:
Rating these schools in several key categories is important for handicappers and Gonzaga has the nation's No. 11-rated offensive output, at 77.6 PPG. The visiting Jaguars defense ranks No. 13 allowing on average 57.1 PPG. The Bulldogs FG% has averaged 50.4% so far, more than the Jaguars marksmen have achieved on the year, 43.4% per game.
Comparing how these foes stack up statistically, Southern owns the country's No. 33-rated mark, allowing 62.1 points per game on the highway. Gonzaga, on the other hand, rates No. 18 in scoring at home.
In their last action, Southern was a 45-44 winner at home against Prairie View A&M. They failed to cover the 10-point spread as favorites. Southern got 13 points from Derick Beltran en route to a 45-44 victory over Prairie View A&M on Saturday at Curtis Culwell Center.
Gonzaga was a 65-51 winner in their most recent outing at home against St. Mary's. They covered the 6.5-point spread as favorites. Kelly Olynyk scored 21 points and helped out with 12 rebounds for Gonzaga on Monday, leading the Bulldogs to a 65-51 victory over St. Mary's at Orleans Arena.
Gonzaga Bulldogs Trends:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
After playing St. Mary's are 10-0
After a win are 10-0
A few Jaguars at Bulldogs trends to consider:
Gonzaga is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Gonzaga's last 9 games
Gonzaga is 4-1-1 ATS in its last 6 games