KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (7-1)
vs. GONZAGA BULLDOGS (9-1)
Tip-off: Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET - Seattle, WA
Line: Gonzaga -9.5, Total: 137
Coming off its first lost of the season, No. 14 Gonzaga will look to get back on track with a win against Kansas State.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs bring the most efficient shooting crew in the nation, making 53% of their shots, tops in Division I. Although the Wildcats have not been as prolific in scoring the basketball, they have won by dominating the boards, grabbing 44.6 per game (6th in Division I). Both teams have also struggled against the lines recently, each 0-3 ATS in their past few games after hot starts to the year. Can Gonzaga prevail by double-digits here? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have a collective 51.1% ATS mark (117-112-6) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who is 12-7 ATS (63%) since Nov. 26 and 60% ATS (25-17) for the season. StatFox Dave is at 52% ATS (43-39-2) on the year, helped out by a 5-0 ATS mark over the past six days.
Kansas State lacks any real scoring threats on offense with Rodney McGruder leading the way at 12.9 PPG. Even he has vast room for improvement, however. He is shooting just 40% from the field, including a dreadful 26% from deep. This might be his chance to improve, though, as the Fighting Illini shot an impressive 42% from three-point range in their win against the Bulldogs. Angel Rodriguez (10.5 PPG, 4.5 APG) is the team’s only other double-digit scorer, and he also leads the way in assists. He too is shooting poorly on the season (37% FG). The most impressive part about the Wildcats is that they are such a good rebounding team without any one dominant rebounder. 6-foot-7 sophomore Thomas Gipson (8.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG) leads the way, while 6-foot-11 senior Jordan Henriquez (5.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.9 BPG) is also a menace on the floor, putting up those numbers in just 14.0 MPG. He’ll be key for matching up with Gonzaga’s sizable frontcourt.
The Bulldogs feature four double-digit scorers, led by 6-foot-8 senior forward Elias Harris (16.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG) and fellow frontcourt machine Kelly Olynyk (14.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG), who is making 67% of his shots to begin the season. And there’s no break when they head to the bench with 7-foot-1 freshman Przemek Karnowski (9.3 PPG) also showing potential in his first year. The backcourt is paced by Kevin Pangos (10.5 PPG, 3.7 APG), Gary Bell Jr. (10.3 PPG) and backup point guard David Stockton, who has shown feistiness in just 21.1 MPG with 3.5 APG and a team-high 2.2 SPG. If they can move the ball effectively and prevent Kansas State from grabbing too many boards, they could have a chance to win big, but that will be a tall task.