YTD : 9-7, +3.3
On a massive slate of college hoops, the key is to be selective. I’m going with two games today and two teams/matchups that I absolutely love. Stack the cash boys!
6:00 / ESPN : #14 Florida St. @ 28 Notre Dame — PK, 154.5
Florida St. is a team that I think everyone is still sleeping on despite the first release of an early bracket by the committee today when they made FSU the #6 overall team and a solid 2 seed. Notre Dame, meanwhile, has lost 5 of 7 after starting 16-2. I could break this one down in every aspect but the biggest mismatch in this game comes down to the 2nd tallest team in the nation (FSU) against a team that starts a 6-8 Center and only has one rotation player bigger than 6-8. Notre Dame is too small to get inside the paint against this team and will rely on outside shots all game long.
In the last meeting down in Tallahassee, Notre Dame did exactly that and it actually kept them in the game as they went 15-21 from 3 (71%), while they only shot 12-37 from inside the line for 32%. Those 3’s have not been dropping at such a ridiculous rate of late for the Irish and I think it will be too much to overcome in this one against an FSU team that should score at will against a shaky ND defense. Bacon, XRM, and Isaac have been performing like the absolute superstars that they are lately. XRM is a bonafide floor general and Dwayne Bacon is a guy who can easily sneak into the lottery. Jonathan Isaac seems to get better with every game he plays, similar to the trajectory of Joel Embiid at Kansas. This is a 6-10 guy who just continues to get better and the sky is the limit, as he could easily creep into the top pick by the end of the season. Notre Dame’s ability to shoot from outside should keep this one close but FSU should win by 6-8 points.
BET : Florida St. PK — 2 UN
8:15 / ESPN : #1 Gonzaga @ #20 Saint Mary’s — Gonzaga -3, 133.5
Saint Mary’s is a team sitting at 22-2, #20 in the nation, 12-1 in conference play, and the backing of the nation to knock off the Zags from the solo perch among unbeaten teams. The Gaels have lost two games — @Gonzaga 79-56 and at home vs UT Arlington 65-51. They are only 3-2 against the top 100, with their best win being against Dayton, followed by either BYU/Stanford? Basically, this team has been largely untested. However, two things they do almost better than anyone are limiting your opportunities at the free throw line (#7 in nation) and crash the defensive glass (#1 in nation). To drive this point home, the Gaels actually limited the Zags to only 6-8 from the charity stripe, along with only 3 offensive rebounds (despite their huge height advantage). Saint Mary’s comes into this game #12 in offensive efficiency but the Charmin soft schedule showed in the first meeting between these two. The Gaels top 4 scoring threats (Landale, Rahon, Naar, Hermanson) combined for only 11-30 (36%) and they only scored 0.95 PPP. Not only that but the Zags size and depth kept the stud, Jock Landale, in foul trouble all game before he eventually fouled out after only 19 minutes of playing time.
Gonzaga is #4 is offensive AND defensive efficiency on the season and it has not been just due to an easy schedule like Saint Mary’s, as they are 8-0 against top 100 teams. The number of weapons the Zags can throw at you is just unbelievable and makes up the best squad of the Mark Few era. Nigel Williams-Goss is an awesome leader and can just as easily take the big shot as he can dish to the multiple weapons around him. Karnowski is an absolute beast inside and creates incredible headaches for opposing coaches trying to decide to single or double because he passes so well out of the post if you do bring the double. They also have Josh Perkins, Silas Melson, and Jordan Matthews who are all lights out shooters that can also beat you off the dribble. They then throw a 6-9 athletic wing at you in Johnathan Williams who can shoot from range at times but really thrives at driving the lane and creating fouls. This is followed by a couple of extremely skilled bigs off the bench in Zach Collins (7-0,230) and Killian Tillie (6-10,200), both freshman. Collins is a future lottery pick by the way…
Needless to say, this Gonzaga team is absolutely loaded, thanks to 3 monstrous transfers and some great recruiting this year. The Zags have too many options on the wings, and more importantly inside, because Jock Landale is the #1 option for the Gaels. Expect the Zags to pound the ball inside early and drive the lane with the wings to create foul trouble and opportunities for the bigs. This one could get ugly once again so I am pounding the Zags -3.
BET : Gonzaga -3 — 4 UN