Xavier vs Gonzaga Elite 8 NCAAB Spread, Free Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Friday,March 24, 2017 12:16, EDT in

Neither No. 11 Xavier nor No. 1 Gonzaga has ever reached the Final Four. One of those schools will punch its ticket to the national semifinals on Saturday night as they square off in the West Region final of the Elite Eight. If Xavier were to win, it would tie as the highest seed to ever reach the Final Four, but the Zags opened as solid college basketball betting favorites.

Xavier vs Gonzaga Elite 8 NCAAB Spread, Free Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, March 25, 6:10 PM ET
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, Calif.
TV: TBS
Radio: Gonzaga / Xavier
Stream Option: March Madness Live
Opening NCAAB Lines: Gonzaga -8 (145.5)

Why Bet On Xavier?

The Musketeers looked cooked late in their game Thursday vs. No. 2 Arizona but closed on a run to win 73-71 – beating former Xavier coach Sean Miller in the process. Star Trevon Bluiett led Xavier with 25 points. Arizona appeared to be in control after Allonzo Trier scored 15 straight points to push the Wildcats’ lead to six. Arizona stalled out on offense, though, failing to score over the final 2:52 as Xavier closed with a 9-0 run.

The Musketeers were the lone double-digit seed left in the bracket after knocking off Maryland and Florida State in the first two rounds, setting up their second Sweet 16 game against Arizona in three years. A team that lost six games in a row in February and early March, that didn’t know for sure it was getting in the NCAA Tournament until its name was (the very last) called on Selection Sunday.

“It’s no surprise to us,” Bluiett said. “This is no Cinderella, or whatever you call it. This is no underdog. It’s just us going out and playing.”

Bluiett, first-team All-Big East, leads the conference in scoring at 18.7 ppg. and is 10th in rebounding at 5.6 rpg. Bluiett has 19 games with 20 points or more this season, including all three NCAA games. He has averaged 25.0 ppg. in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Xavier freshman Quentin Goodin has averaged 5.5 apg. for his 16 straight starts at point guard. Senior Malcolm Bernard scored a career-high 15 points in the win over Arizona, all of which came in the second half. He added six rebounds. Junior Sean O’Mara has been XU’s second-leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament at 12.3 ppg.; XU is 8-1 this season when O’Mara scores in double figures.

A year after falling out of the second round as a 2 seed thanks to a buzzer-beating loss at the hands of Wisconsin, Xavier is aiming to become the fourth 11 seed in history to make the Final Four. LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011 are the others.

Xavier is playing in its third Elite Eight, including 2004, 2008 and 2017. XU is 8-1 this season in neutral site games.

Why Bet On Gonzaga?

Coach Mark Few has accomplished everything at Gonzaga but reach a Final Four. The Zags (35-1) won their Sweet 16 game over No. 4 West Virginia in ugly fashion, 61-58. Jordan Mathews hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with under a minute to play.

The Mountaineers’ Jevon Carter missed two 3-pointers that would have tied the game in the final moments. The Zags shut down West Virginia all night, but never more definitively or crucially than in the final seconds, when a swarming perimeter stifled Carter’s multiple attempts and kept the Mountaineers from even getting a final shot off before the buzzer.

The game featured 51 fouls and only 34 made baskets. Gonzaga committed seven turnovers in the first half; it had eight in the first 14 minutes of the second, and 16 overall. WCC Player of the Year Nigel Williams-Goss was held to 10 points on 2-for- 10 shooting with five turnovers. Despite shooting 26.7 percent for the game, West Virginia stayed close and took a 58-55 lead on a 3-pointer by Carter with 1:47 to play. But the Mountaineers didn’t score again. The Bulldogs rank first in adjusted defensive efficiency this season; no team in the country has allowed fewer points per possession, adjusted for its competition.

The Bulldogs are a No. 1 seed for the second time in program history. The 2012-13 Zags defeated [16] Southern as the top-seed in the West, before falling to No. 9 Wichita State. Both of those games were played in Salt Lake City. Gonzaga is 18-13 all-time as a single-digit seed, with an 11-2 record in its first-round game as a single-digit seed, 7-7 in the round-of- 32, and 2-2 in regional semifinal games.

Since March 6, 2010, Gonzaga is 110-30 in road or neutral games. The Zags’ win percentage on the road or neutral games tops the nation over that span. The Zags have won 20 consecutive games away from the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs were the only team in the country that went perfect on the road this season at 9-0.

Gonzaga leads the series with Xavier 3-1, including a win in the last meeting, a 72-65 victory over Xavier in the 2011-12 season at Cintas Center (12-31- 11). XU and Gonzaga met in the 2006 NCAA First Round in Salt Lake City with the Bulldogs coming out on top, 79-75 (3-16- 06).

Xavier vs Gonzaga Elite 8 Free Pick: Xavier Musketeers

Gonzaga will advance, but take the points here. Xavier is too well-coached to get blown out. Go under the total. Musketeers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games overall. Bulldogs are 0-3- 1 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games.