Game: Arkansas Razorbacks @ Gonzaga Bulldogs
Time: 7:09 p.m. ET
Odds: Razorbacks +8.5, Bulldogs -8.5
In the first game of the Sweet Sixteen, Arkansas takes on overall No. 1 tournament seed Gonzaga. It’s the second straight trip to the Sweet Sixteen for the Razorbacks and head coach Eric Musselman. They beat Vermont and New Mexico State both unimpressively to get here. Now, they face the monumental task of beating the favorite to win it all.
The Bulldogs showed their resilience as well as some chinks in their armor in a win over Memphis to get to the Sweet Sixteen. Gonzaga trailed Memphis in Round 2 by 10 points at halftime. National player of the year candidate Drew Timme took over and the Bulldogs advanced. Timme scored 25 points and had 14 rebounds. Gonzaga had some trouble with Memphis’s size and they struggled at the free-throw line, something elite teams normally don’t do.
Gonzaga has not been friendly to its backers. They were favored by 9.5 over Memphis and failed to cover in the 82-78 victory. That gives them a 1-4 ATS record in their last five games and a 2-6 ATS record in their last eight. In nine neutral site games this season, Gonzaga is just 4-5 ATS and 15-15-1 ATS overall for the season.
Arkansas, 20-14-1 ATS for the season, has actually done well in this situation this season. In December, the Razorbacks lost to Mississippi State as a 4.5-point underdog. Since then, they have a 4-0 ATS record as an underdog. Two of those covers were outright wins – LSU and the big upset of Auburn. Over their last 20 games, Arkansas is 14-5-1 ATS.
Tonight’s game will put the nation’s No. 1 offense – Gonzaga – against a pretty good Arkansas defense. The problem for the Razorbacks will be keeping up with a team that scores an average of 87.8 points per game. Gonzaga is very good on the interior with 7-foot freshman Chet Holmgren. He and Timme are outstanding near the basket which is why the Bulldogs lead the nation in field goal percentage (52.6 percent). Arkansas is not a great perimeter shooting team, which could be a problem tonight. With Holmgren, Gonzaga is also very good on the interior on defense.
The two teams have only played once before and that was back in 2013 in an early-season game. Gonzaga won 91-81. Both teams have proved they can win. Arkansas is 17-3 SU and Gonzaga 19-1 SU in their last 20 games.
Both teams are trending Over recently. Arkansas has seen the total go Over in seven of its last eight games. Six of its last seven games played in March have gone Over. For Gonzaga, the Over has hit in four of the Bulldogs’ last six games. Gonzaga actually has a 14-17 O/U record for the season. In their last 20 games against an opponent from the SEC, Gonzaga has seen the total go Over 15 times. Gonzaga is 10-0 in its last 10 games in March.