- 3-0 West Virginia faces 2-0 Gonzaga in a battle of undefeated top-15 teams tonight (7:00 pm ET)
- #1 Gonzaga is an 8.5-point favorite while the total is at 153.5
- See how the teams stack up and Sascha Paruk’s pick for tonight’s matchup
Wednesday evening, #11 West Virginia faces #1 Gonzaga at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (7:00 pm ET). The Zags, who have rolled their first two opponents, are massive 8.5-point favorites against a Mountaineers team that already owns three quality wins.
West Virginia vs #1 Gonzaga Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Point Spread||Over/Under Total|
|#11 West Virginia||+360||+8.5 (-105)||Over 153.5 (-115)|
|#1 Gonzaga||-460||-8.5 (-115)||Under 153.5 (-105)|
Odds as of Dec. 2 at FanDuel.
Gonzaga Is Cruising
The Bulldogs have only played two games so far, but “impressive” would be an understatement for how Mark Few’s team has performed.
Last Thursday, they swept aside Kansas 102-90, pouring in 54 first-half points and taking an eight-point lead into the break. On Friday, they demolished Auburn 90-67, jumping out to a 14-point halftime lead.
The Zags are getting significant contributions up and down the roster. Sophomore center Drew Timme leads the way averaging 26.5 points, while preseason Wooden Award watchlister Corey Kispert is scoring 24.0 PPG.
Freshman point guard Jalen Suggs, the #6 recruit in the nation per ESPN, has started his college career quickly. The 6’4 St. Paul native is averaging 18.0 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals through 80 minutes of play.
The fact that Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard (11.2 PPG, 5.6 APG with the Gators in 2019-20) is coming off the bench is a testament to the massive amount of talent at Few’s disposal.
As usual, the Zags are playing at a relentless pace. They sit 24th in the nation in tempo (75.2 possessions per game) and are first in both offensive efficiency and overall efficiency.
West Virginia Will Put Up a Fight
The Mountaineers haven’t played a top-ten team such as Kansas, but their three wins are all over top-100 teams in terms of efficiency: #82 South Dakota State (79-71), #70 VCU (78-66), and #74 Western Kentucky (70-64).
Though they lack the Zags’ top-end talent, WVU is equally balanced. Miles McBride (16.3 PPG, 3.3 APG), Derek Culver (15.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG), Sean McNeil (13.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG), and Taz Sherman (11.7 PPG) are all averaging well into double-figures.
The outcome of their first two games were never seriously in doubt. They jumped out to a 37-30 halftime lead on South Dakota State and started the VCU game on a 17-5 run.
In the Western Kentucky game, though, Bob Huggins’ group showed its mental fortitude. The Hilltoppers led by as many as ten in the second half before WVU went on a game-deciding 18-2 run.
The Best Bet Tonight
The best bet in tonight’s matchup looks like over 153.5. While the KenPom projection for this game is a 78-74 Gonzaga win (152 total points), that projection is still largely based on last season’s results.
So far, Gonzaga is playing 3.3 possessions-per-game faster than last year (75.2 vs 71.9), while West Virginia is playing 2.4 possessions-per-game faster (71.8 vs 69.4). While WVU has a top-ten defense per KenPom (8th overall), so did Kansas (5th), which was torched for 102 points by the Zags in the opener.
The Mountaineers have yet to play a game that exceeded 153.5 points, but they have also yet to play a team that is higher than 109th in tempo. Look for the more-talented Zags to dictate the pace and the score to climb into the high 150s.
Pick: Over 153.5 (-115)
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