NCAA Basketball Elite 8 – Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:
Mar/29/2019

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are giving every mid-major hope with its run to the Elite 8. The Zags can take it a step further with a trip to the Final Four.

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To do that they’ll have to find a way to dent the defense of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who allowed just 44 points to Michigan on Thursday and are giving up an average of 53 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga has the nation’s most efficient offense and Texas Tech possesses the top squad in defensive efficiency. It may not be the sexiest Elite 8 matchup, but it’s going to be a good one.

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Date and Time: Saturday, March 30, 2019, 6:09 p.m. ET

Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA

Opening CBB Odds: Gonzaga -3.5, O/U 138.5

Texas Tech vs. Gonzaga TV Coverage: TBS

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Odds Analysis

Tech losing to West Virginia in the Big 12 tournament is one of those moments that make you say hmmmm. But it apparently woke up the Red Raiders, who have been playing better defense in the Tournament than they played during the regular season, if that’s even possible. Tech dethroned Kansas by tying for the conference regular season title with K-State, but they limped into the NCAAs after having their nine-game winning streak stopped. No problem, just turn up the defensive intensity, that’s what the Red Raiders have done, blasting their first three opponents by an average of 18 points while holding them to 53 points per game. Tech covered the line in all three and is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games.

Proving their loss in the West Coast Conference final was a minor inconvenience Gonzaga continued its march through the NCAA Tournament, exacting some revenge for last year’s Sweet 16 loss to Florida State by ending the Noles’ season, 72-58, on Thursday. The point total was the Zags lowest in three tourney games and if they can get close to that number against Tech they’ll be in a good spot to advance. The Zags lead the country in scoring with 88.2 points per game and they are the most efficient, according to kenpom.com.

Texas Tech

Northern Kentucky couldn’t do it, neither could Buffalo. And Michigan was an epic fail. Texas Tech’s three Tournament opponents all failed to score 60 points. The Wolverines were lucky to top 40. Now it’s up to college basketball’s most efficient defensive team to stop the top squad in offensive efficiency if the Red Raiders are to advance to the Final Four.

How dominant were the Raiders on Thursday? They held Michigan to 32 percent shooting and 16 field goals, with only one of those coming from three-point range in 19 tries. And it took the Wolverines more than 24 minutes to score 20 points. “We guarded at a high level,” coach Chris Beard said after the 63-44 win. I guess so. And the performance wasn’t a fluke. Tech held Buffalo, which was averaging 84.5 points per game, to 58 in the second round. Jarrett Culver supplied the offense with 22 points and Davide Moretti added 15, but Tech will need to be better on that end of the floor.

Gonzaga

What makes the Zags so good is their ability to pound opponents in a variety of ways. Their depth and balance will force Tech to exert a lot of energy on the defensive end. And the Bulldogs can play defense, too. You don’t always equate a team that scores nearly 89 points per game with being physical, but the Zags are that and more. Against a bigger Florida State squad, they had more rebounds, including 13 on the offensive glass, and scored 17 second-chance points. They held the Noles to 39 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers in the 72-58 cover.

Gonzaga showed off its depth against Baylor in the second round dropping 83 points despite All-American Rui Hachimura netting just six. San Jose State transfer Brandon Clarke picked up the slack with 36 points on 15 of 18 shooting in that game. Going against FSU’s redwoods in the middle, Clarke and Hachimura combined for 32 points and 16 rebounds. Gonzaga shot just 40.3 percent against FSU, which is well below their DI leading average of 52.8 percent, proving that they don’t have to score a bunch of points to win ball games.

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I’ve said this all season and I’m sticking to it: Gonzaga is the most balanced team in the country. The Zags proved my point on Thursday, beating FSU by 14 points even though they shot just over 40 percent. They can play D as well as anyone and have the weapons to hurt Tech inside with Clarke, Hachimura and Killian Tillie. Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell provide the punch from the outside, and that’s enough to offset Culver’s contributions. I expect to see the Zags in Minneapolis next weekend.

CBB Score Prediction: Gonzaga 70, Texas Tech 63

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