Upcoming NCAAB Games to Potentially 'Fade' Gonzaga and Utah

By: Brandon Shively     Date: Feb 18, 2015

1) Gonzaga---While Gonzaga looks to claim a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, I want to look at upcoming games at Saint Mary's and a season finale vs. BYU as these appear to be the only potential test for Gonzaga before playing in the West Coast Conference Tourney. A) Gonzaga@ Saint Mary (2/21)----Gonzaga will travel on the road to play Saint Mary's. This will be a huge revenge game for the Gaels after getting beat 68-47 @ Gonzaga on January 22nd. Saint Mary's is a defensive minded team and I have the feeling that HC Randy Bennett will have his squad ready for this one. In the first matchup Saint Mary's only hit 2-for-15 from the 3 point line. Playing at home I have to think that they have a better game plan and hit more of their shots. Of course they will need to play a near perfect game to have a chance and the guard play will have to be better than it has been recently. Waldow can't do it all himself, but the Gaels do have 4 guys that are all shooting 40%+ from the 3 point line. They also have 4 guys that average 4+ rebounds a game and only turn the ball over 12 times a game as a team.This will be Saint Mary's last home game of the season and a game that will be televised on ESPN2. I am expecting the Gaels to be getting 6-8 points at home. Let's see where this line opens up and look for a possible play on Saint Mary's . B) BYU vs. Gonzaga (2/28)-----Gonzaga will conclude the season playing BYU and the Cougars have a high octane offense that can give anybody fits on any given night. This is Gonzaga's season finale and I will question their motivation for this game. For BYU, this is a team that is fighting for a seed in the Tourney and being the No.1 scoring team in the nation at 84.8 ppg, I think they might be able to give Gonzaga a scare. I am thinking that they will be at least a 12 point road dog in this game and the Cougars have been competitive in all of their losses this season with 2 coming in Overtime and the other 4 losses have been by an average of 5 points and the largest loss of the season was by 7 points earlier in the season to Gonzaga. BYU actually only shot 39.7% from the floor in the game and I have to think they shoot closer to 45%+ in this one. I know Gonzaga is the No.1 shooting team in the nation but it is hard to shoot 50%+ from the floor in every game. If they have an 'off-night', then they could be in trouble in this one. 2)Utah Utes----Utah will play 4 of their last 6 PAC 12 games on the road, including a back-to-back set @ Oregon State and @ Oregon which is never easy. They also have to travel to play Washington State after playing Arizona in a revenge game which will be their biggest game of the season. A) Utah @ Oregon State (2/19)----I think this is a scary game for Utah. We already saw Oregon State beat Arizona at home and they are undefeated at home this year. Oregon State slows the game down and relies heavily on their zone defense that frustrates opponents. This will be an important game for the Beavers as they are 2-4 SU their last 6 games as they are not good on the road. I expect this line to be a bit inflated due to Oregon State's recent skid and Utah's ability to win games by double digits. The student section will be loud in this one and I am looking for a line in the +6.5 to +8 point range. This will be a lower scoring game played in the 50's and the points will be valuable in this one. B) Utah @ Washington State (3/05)-----While I don't think that Utah will win this game, this is a tough spot for them after playing a BIG revenge game vs. Arizona . I think it will be hard for them to get up for this game and really don't see the motivation for this one. Washington State is a team that is not good, but they do have a couple wins at home vs. Stanford, Arizona State, and Oregon. I think Utah will be laying 12+ points in this one and can see this one as where it's a close game at halftime and the Utes will need a late run to squeak by with a win. Washington State does have a 1-2 punch with Lacy in the backcourt (17 ppg) and Hawkinson (14.4 ppg/ 10.5 rpg) down low. I know it takes more than 2 guys to win a game, but I think these two guys can at least help carry the team at home to cover this spread. I will also note that while this is a 'let-down 'spot, it is also a spot where they might be a bit rusty after not playing for a full week since the big game vs. Arizona. Consider on Playing on Washington State.

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