College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Washington vs. Gonzaga
Pictured: Washington Huskies forward Keion Brooks. (Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
- Washington and Gonzaga go head-to-head on Friday night in a Pacific Northwest battle.
- The Zags are clearly the better side, but can they cover this big number?
- D.J. James previews the game and shares his best bet below.
Washington vs. Gonzaga Odds
The Gonzaga Bulldogs face off with the up-and-down Washington Huskies on Friday night. Franck Kepnang has confirmed he's out for the season with a knee injury, which is a major blow to the Huskies frontcourt. Gonzaga doesn't lack offensive firepower in the post as Drew Timme, a Wooden Award candidate, averages nearly 20 points and 8.2 rebounds per games.
On the contrary, the Washington defense has been the rock of the Huskies season. The Huskies have losses to Cal Baptist and Oregon State, but wins over Colorado and St. Mary’s.
Washington is elite guarding the perimeter, which could eliminate one faction of Gonzaga's attack.
With Kepnang out, Washington will have to rely on other options in the post. Keion Brooks, Braxton Meah and Cole Bajema are each averaging at least five boards per game and impressed in that St. Mary’s win. Washington is keeping opponents under 49% from two-point range, which isn't spectacular, but has helped contribute to the Huskies ranking 55th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (KenPom).
Washington can disrupt Gonzaga's post game by forcing turnovers. The Huskies own a 21.1% defensive turnover clip on the season and the Zags are turning it over 19.4% of the time on offense, which ranks 194th in the NCAA. Timme, Julian Strawther and Nolan Hickman are each averaging at least two turnovers per game. Timme and Strawther predominantly have the ball in their hands, so expect the Huskies to make them uncomfortable.
Losing Kepnang diminishes the Huskies' interior defense, but Brooks, Meah and P.J. Fuller all boast plus block percentages. They will get in the way when needed.
Photo by CBB Analytics
Gonzaga shoots well from three-point (38.6%) and two-point range (55.1%). However, the Huskies are holding opponents to just 26.1% shooting from beyond the arc this season. In fact, Washington ranks 281st in three-point attempt percentage, meaning the Zags will likely try to rely on Timme and Strawther inside the arc as much as possible.
On the defensive end, the Zags have also taken a step back in fouling. They rank 115th in free-throw attempt percentage, and the Huskies get to the line around 34% of the time.
The Zags also are not the best at guarding either inside or outside the perimeter, ranking in the middle of the pack in both metrics. Washington is abysmal with the deep ball, but Bajema and Keyon Menifield are both shooting above 38% from outside. If Gonzaga leaves them open, look out.
Photo by CBB Analytics
Washington vs. Gonzaga Betting Pick
This Washington team isn't fantastic, but a big spread, coupled with clear defensive edges, is too forgiving to how sloppy Gonzaga has been against Power Five opponents.
Expect Washington to put up a fight.
Back the Huskies at +18, and play to +15.5.