Gonzaga at Santa Clara Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Wednesday,January 18, 2017 8:34, EDT in

One could argue that No. 4 Gonzaga got jobbed in the most recent polls as the Zags are the nation’s only unbeaten team yet they are ranked behind one-loss clubs Villanova, Kansas and UCLA. The Zags look to avoid an upset on Thursday when they visit WCC rival Santa Clara as big favorites on college basketball odds.

Gonzaga at Santa Clara Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Thursday, Jan. 19, 11 PM ET
Where: Leavey Center, Santa Clara
TV: ESPNU
Stream: WatchESPN
RadioGonzaga / Santa Clara
Opening NCAAB Lines: Gonzaga favored by TBA

Why Bet On Gonzaga?

The Bulldogs (17-0) come off one facing one of their few tough tests left in the regular season as they stomped No. 21 Saint Mary’s 79-56 on Saturday. Nigel Williams-Goss scored 19 points and added six assists to help Gonzaga win its 17th game in a row, the longest streak in the nation. Jordan Mathews added 16 points, Johnathan Williams had 14 and Collins 10 for Gonzaga.

The streak is also the fourth-longest in program history, just three games behind runs in 2005-06 and 2003-04. The 2014-15 Zags won a program-record 22 straight games. The Bulldogs’ 10 straight conference wins ranks fourth in the country.

Gonzaga made 64.7 percent of its shots from the field, the highest percentage since the Bulldogs connected on 69 percent of their shots at Santa Clara on Feb. 5, 2015. Saint Mary’s 56 points and 39.7 percent shooting from the field were its second-lowest outputs of the season.

Zags coach Mark Few has never not gone to the NCAA Tournament in his first 17 years as coach. He has never not gone to the championship game of the WCC tournament. Few’s 81.3 percentage – 483-111 – is the finest among active coaches. Kansas’ Bill Self is No. 5. The reason to mention them together is they were born within hours of one another on Dec. 27, 1962.

The Zags lead the WCC at 85.6 points a game, but don’t have an individual in the top eight of the league in scoring. Seven different players have led the team in points in a game, and six in rebounds. The scoring range for the top seven players range from 15.2 to 8.5.

So far in conference play, Gonzaga has outscored its opponents 232-138, an average of 46-28, in the second half. The Zags are shooting 55.2 percent from the field in the second half over the last five games, including 21-of- 50 from behind-the- arc (42 percent).

Why Bet On Santa Clara?

The Broncos (10-9) come off a 75-61 win at Pepperdine on Saturday. Jared Brownridge scored 30 points, including 21 in the second half, and Matt Hauser added 16. KJ Feagin (11) and Nate Kratch (10) also reached double figures in scoring for the Broncos (10-9, 4-2) who erupted for 50 points on 60 percent shooting from field, including 8-for- 13 from behind the 3-point line, in the second half to secure their fourth win in the last five games.

Brownridge scored 30 or more points for the 11th time in his career to extend his own school record. He scored a school freshman-record 38 points at Pepperdine on March 1, 2014, leading the Broncos to an 86-78 victory. The senior also moved to eighth on the WCC all-time scoring list. He now has 2,056 points, passing Johnny Dee of San Diego (2011-15), who had 2,046. Brownridge earned West Coast Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season on Monday.

The Broncos are off to their best start in WCC play since 2010-11 when they began 6-2. Santa Clara just won two straight on the road in the league for the first time since 2013-14 when it beat Portland, 76-68, on Dec. 30, and Saint Mary’s, 57-55, on Jan. 9. The wins vs. San Diego (Jan. 12) and Pepperdine (Jan. 14) marked the first victories in back-to- back games overall and in WCC play in almost four years.

Santa Clara has the best turnover margin in the WCC (+2.4 per game) and the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4-to- 1). Those factors have helped offset an offense scoring 67.3 points per game (No. 10 in the league). However, the Broncos are allowing just 64.5 ppg, which ranks third in the conference.

Gonzaga at Santa Clara Expert Pick: Gonzaga Bulldogs

GU has won 36 of the last 38 meetings against the Broncos, including the last 12 straight matchups. Make it 13.