Saturday’s Final Four game between South Carolina and Gonzaga is defined by defense. Both teams play at an elite level defensively so points will be at a premium in this Final Four clash. I like the UNDER 138 points.
Gonzaga also possesses the nation’s best defense that is 11.4 points per game better than average (60.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 72.3 points per game).
The Bulldogs’ stop unit is ranked 4th nationally in scoring defense, 2nd in field goal percentage defense (36.5) and 4th in three-point field goal percentage (29.3). Consider the fact that the Bulldogs have allowed more than 65 points just four times in their past 22 games!
Gonzaga boasts the top defensive efficiency ranking pursuant to Ken Pomeroy, and the Bulldogs have the best depth in Few’s tenure in Spokane. For example, when Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins both had four fouls on Saturday night, Few simply rotated them out.
The result? The Bulldogs limited Xavier to a mere 20 points in the second half! Gonzaga has allowed 0.687 points per trip in half-court defensive possessions in the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, South Carolina has reached the Final Four due to its suffocating defense that is 9.1 points per game better than average (64.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 74.0 points per game). Opposing teams are shooting just 39.8% from the field and 29.8% from beyond the arc against the Gamecocks in 2016-17.
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin has caught lightning in a bottle as his squad is a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks are ranked 15th in the nation in field goal percentage defense and 7th in three-point field goal percentage defense.
From a technical standpoint, the UNDER is 40-19-1 in South Carolina’s last 60 games as an underdog, including 25-8-1 when the Gamecocks are installed as underdogs of 6.5-points or less. The UNDER is also 54-24-2 in South Carolina’s last 80 games following a win and 8-1 in games in which the Gamecocks are facing a .601 or greater opponent.
Take the UNDER 138 points in the Final Four game between South Carolina and Gonzaga as Oskeim Sports’ Free Pick for Saturday, April 1.