#1 Gonzaga vs San Diego

#1 Gonzaga vs San Diego | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on January 27, 2021

The University of San Diego has played just eight games this season with numerous COVID postponements and the Toreros have won only two. They will be huge home underdogs on the NCAAB odds Thursday vs. No. 1 Gonzaga in West Coast Conference action.

How to Bet Gonzaga at San Diego NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

The Zags thumped the Toreros twice last year, including 94-50 in San Diego. They grabbed leads of 10-3 and 18-5, both of which prompted USD coach Sam Scholl to call a timeout. Gonzaga continued to pour it on, taking leads of 27-6 and 40-14. It was 53-16 at halftime. Gonzaga has won 12 straight in the series and 45 of the past 48. San Diego is 0-3 vs. No. 1-ranked teams all-time. The Toreros also lost 96-38 at home to Gonzaga on Feb. 23, 2017, and 101-71 to Kansas on Dec. 9, 1995, at the San Diego Sports Arena.

Why Bet on Gonzaga? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Gonzaga (15-0) blew out Pacific 95-49 on Saturday. Drew Timme scored 11 points as Gonzaga jumped to a 26-5 lead in less than eight minutes. Pacific made only two of its first 14 shots, while Gonzaga shot 60% in that span. Gonzaga shot 49% while Pacific made just 27.9% of its attempts, including 2 of 16 from 3-point range.

“I thought we really challenged every shot,” Coach Mark Few said. “The way we beat them on the glass (50-37) was a good sign also.” It was the Zags’ 47th straight home win.

Timme scored 22 points and freshman Jalen Suggs finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. It was the Zags’ 19th straight win overall dating to last season.

U is 6-0 in WCC play for the fifth straight season. The Zags have only trailed in two conference games this season (vs San Francisco for 16 seconds and at SMC, 13:24), and only for 16 seconds total at home (vs USF). Gonzaga is one of the last five unbeaten teams in the nation, and one of three teams that have at least 15 wins.

GU is first in the nation in scoring offense (94.4), field goal percentage (54.9), and two-point percentage (63.9). Corey Kispert (20.6) and Timme (18.5) lead the WCC in scoring and field goal percentage (Timme, 61.2) (Kispert, 58.2). Kispert also tops the conference in three-pointers made per game (3.1) and three-point field goal percentage (49.0).

Gonzaga is 32-13 all-time at San Diego. The Zags have won 11 of their last 12 at USD. The Toreros’ last win in the series came on Feb. 22, 2014, 69-66, at San Diego.

Why Bet on San Diego? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

San Diego (2-6) was a 78-70 upset winner at Portland on Saturday. Five Toreros scored in double digits in their first WCC win of the season. San Diego shot 56 percent from the field, led by Josh Parrish, who had a career-high 20 points, adding eight rebounds and two steals. Joey Calcaterra added 12 points off the bench in his first game back and Marion Humphrey helped out with 11 points and two steals.

Finn Sullivan and Vladimir Pinchuk both registered 10 points in a balanced offense for the Toreros, who recorded 14 assists as a team, led by Sullivan with five. USD took care of business in the paint, outscoring the Pilots, 52-28, in the lane.

The San Diego defense caused its share of mistakes, forcing 16 Portland turnovers while committing 14. Those takeaways turned into 17 points on the offensive end of the floor.

USD has been without leading rebounder/shot blocker Yauhen Massalski for the past three games. The senior averages 6.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.  Massalski currently ranks fourth in program history with 133 career blocks, after surpassing Dondi Bell (128) earlier this season and is now 25 away from third place. He is only the fifth Torero to have 100+ blocks in a career, and he has 40+ blocks in each of his first two seasons at USD.

He has at least one block in 65 career games, which are the third-most since 2010-11 by a Torero. Jito Kok (2013-16) had 111 career games with at least one block to lead the program.

The Toreros added nine newcomers for the 2020-21 season, including three freshmen, five transfers and one redshirt.

Expert Prediction
  • Gonzaga 87, San Diego 67

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