GONZAGA BULLDOGS (17-1)
at BUTLER BULLDOGS (15-2)
Tip-off: Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Gonzaga -3, Total: 137
A pair of highly-ranked Bulldogs square off on Saturday night when No. 8 Gonzaga visits Hinkle Fieldhouse for a matchup with No. 13 Butler.
The Zags have won eight straight games (4-2-1 ATS) since their lone loss of the season. Included in this stretch are four road victories with the past three away wins coming by 16, 7 and 22 points on Thursday at Portland. Butler's last loss also came to Illinois, as the Bulldogs have ripped off 12 straight wins (7-3 ATS), including a 15-point victory over Richmond on Wednesday. Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke (16.3 PPG) did not play in that game due to a severely sprained neck, and he's not expected to suit up on Saturday either. These teams met last season in Spokane, a game in which Gonzaga rolled to a 71-55 victory thanks to a 49% FG clip, including 9-of-18 threes.
Which Bulldogs will win this primetime game on Saturday night? 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 15-9 ATS (63%) mark in the past three days, boosting them to 53.1% ATS (239-211-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 59.1% ATS (55-38) for the season, while StatFox Dave is 6-2 ATS (75%) in the past three days and 55% ATS (88-72-3) on the year. StatFox Brian is also starting to heat up, going 7-3 ATS (70%) in the past seven days.
Gonzaga is a top-notch offensive squad, averaging 80.3 PPG (8th in nation) on an impressive 51.4% FG clip (3rd in D-I). Junior F Kelly Olynyk (18.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG) continues to dominate, as he's scored at least a dozen points in 11 straight games. He tallied 21 points (8-of-9 FG) in just 19 minutes on Thursday, giving him a whopping 28.3 PPG on 72% FG and 82% FT (22-of-27) with 8.7 RPG in the past three contests. PF Elias Harris (14.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG) has scored in double-figures in all four January games, averaging 13.8 PPG, but was just 5-of-16 from the floor on Thursday. However, Harris had 19 points and nine boards in last season's win over Butler. After making just 4-of-17 shots in the first two games this month, SG Kevin Pangos (12.4 PPG, 43% threes) has caught fire with 18.0 PPG on 62% FG (7-of-13 threes) in the past two games. He also shot lights-out (7-for-11 FG, 3-for-7 threes) in his 19-point, four-rebound performance against Butler last season. PG David Stockton (3.3 APG), who had five assists in last season's win over Butler, has dished out 21 assists with just four turnovers in the past five games combined.
Without Clarke available on Wednesday against Richmond, four Butler players scored at least eight points, led by C Andrew Smith's 15 points (6-of-9 FG) and seven boards. Smith has really stepped up his game with 17.3 PPG (58% FG) and 7.0 RPG in the past three contests. Sophomore SF Roosevelt Jones (9.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.5 APG) posted a double-double (10 pts, 12 reb) in Wednesday's victory, giving him 13.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG and 4.0 APG in his past two games. Both F Khyle Marshall and G Kellen Dunham average 10.5 PPG this season, but while Marshall makes 55% of his shots, Dunham has a poor 37.8% FG rate. Marshall had 10 points in just 20 minutes against Gonzaga last season.