College Basketball Odds, Picks, Prediction for Xavier vs. Gonzaga (Sunday, Nov. 27)
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Colby Jones (left), Jack Nunge (center), Souley Boum (right).
Xavier vs. Gonzaga Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Gonzaga, meanwhile, was shocked by Purdue; after leading by as much as eight early in the game, the Bulldogs were down five at the half. Things only got worse in the second half, as the Bulldogs lost outright by an absurd 18 points.
As a result, we'll now get the Musketeers and the Bulldogs as they square off to decide third place in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament. Was it just a bad game for Gonzaga? Or is it time to start looking at the Bulldogs differently?
Xavier had been scoring the ball before their game against Duke, but what ultimately decided the game against the Blue Devils was being held to just two points over the finals five minutes of the game. The Blue Devils forced the Musketeers to find other options, as they held Xavier's leading scorer, Jack Nunge, to just five points in the game.
Xavier also gave up 15 turnovers while hitting just 38% from the floor. The bad news for Xavier is I'm not sure things will be any better against a Gonzaga team fresh off an embarrassing loss.
The Musketeers do have one major advantage, though, that Duke was able to eliminate, and I'm not sure Gonzaga will have the same success: 3-point shooting. Xavier is hitting 44.9% from beyond the arc so far this season, ranking them as the fourth best team in the country from deep so far this year.
Duke held the Musketeers to just 7-for-17 from beyond the line and is holding opponents to just 26.1% from three point range on the season. Against Gonzaga, however, teams are hitting 32.9% from beyond the arc. If Xavier can find success from deep again, they might be able to keep up with this Bulldogs team.
Gonzaga's offense really wasn't that bad against Purdu;, their defense is what cost them them the game. The Boilermakers hit 47.5% from the field in the game and were 38.5% from beyond the arc. The second half is where things really came off the rails, as they shot better than 50% from both.
To make matters worse, not only were the Bulldogs not defending well, they couldn't stop fouling in the second half. Purdue went to the line 15 times in the second half and racked up 16 points total in the game from the charity stripe. The Bulldogs didn't have an answer for Zach Edey or really anyone else in the paint, as 32 of Purdue's 84 points came inside the paint.
Do I think we'll see this bad of a performance again against Xavier? No, but I do think this loss and really their performance all season, has shown this Bulldogs team is not the powerhouse we've seen in years past. And Xavier could very well have a chance against Gonzaga if they can find success from beyond the 3-point line.
Xavier vs. Gonzaga Betting Pick
Gonzaga is going to play with a chip on their shoulder, sure, but that doesn't mean their defense is going to magically improve overnight. Xavier is the best 3-point shooting team the Zags will face so far this season, and I think that's going to be a problem for them no matter how hard they play or how big the chip on their shoulder is.
Back the Musketeers at +7.5 or better here to keep it close at the very least.
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