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Gonzaga Avoiding Expectations Despite Being Capable of Making Run

Oklahoma State was a popular pick by the  media pundits to make a serious run in the NCAA tournament.  However, I simply do not understand the hype surrounding the Cowboys as they are 7-19 ATS versus teams with a winning record and 9-21 ATS versus teams who are outscoring their opponents by eight or more points per game, whereas Gonzaga is a profitable 11-4 ATS versus elite opposition with a win percentage between .600 and .800.  Let’s also note that Gonzaga is 30-15 ATS as a neutral court underdog, including 22-10 ATS as an underdog of six points or less.  The Zags also own an 11-2 SU and 9-4 ATS record versus Big 12 opponents over the last six years and stand at 11-3 SU in their last fourteen 1st round NCAA tournament games, including a perfect 5-0 SU in the last five Tournament openers.  How can anyone be impressed with the fact that Oklahoma State is just 4-8 SU versus NCAA tournament teams this season with Marcus Smart on the floor?

Gonzaga is one of the most balanced teams in the Tournament as the Zags are 5.0 points per game better than average offensively (76.9 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 71.9 points per game) and 8.7 points per game better than average defensively (65.0 points per game to teams that would combine to average 73.7 points per game).  The Zags are ranked 14th in compensated points per possession allowed, 14th in two-point field goal percentage and 24th in three-point field goal percentage.  What makes the Zags such a compelling investment is the fact that they limiting opponents to a mere 58.56 points over the last five games (35.5% FG; 29.9% 3-PT).  From strictly a fundamental standpoint, Gonzaga possesses a 1.0 points per game advantage offensively, while the Cowboys own a 1.2 points per game advantage at the offensive end of the floor.

This game also presents a significant coaching mismatch as Gonzaga head coach Mark Few is substantially better than Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford.  In fact, Ford is a money-burning 27-46 SU and 30-42-1 ATS versus .750 or greater opponents and 1-3 SU in four NCAA tournament appearances.  For more technical support, let’s note that Gonzaga is 7-2 SU and ATS in the NCAA tournament versus foes off a SU and ATS loss, including a perfect 6-0 SU and ATS versus opponents with a win percentage of less than .666.  With the underdog now 18-8 ATS in Gonzaga’s last 26 NCAA tournament games, grab the points with the Zags and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports Power Ratings:

Gonzaga: 23rd best team in the nation at 95.0 points

Oklahoma State: 26st best team in the nation at 94.5 points

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