Gonzaga vs. Alabama Prediction: Will the Tide Keep It Close in the Battle in Seattle?

College basketball expert Mike Spector gives his prediction for the highly anticipated Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide matchup Saturday night.
Mike Spector |
Sat, December 4, 8:26 AM EST | 4 min read
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Gonzaga vs. Alabama Prediction: Will the Tide Keep It Close in the Battle in Seattle?

Tonight’s matchup between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Gonzaga Bulldogs is the only game on Saturday’s slate between two top 25 teams. The game is billed as the “Battle in Seattle” and is easily Alabama’s stiffest test to date. Are the Crimson Tide up for the challenge, or are the Bulldogs ready to knock off their third-ranked team of the season?

Gonzaga vs. Alabama Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Saturday, December 4, 2021Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ETWhere To Watch: ESPN2

Click Here For Gonzaga vs. Alabama Odds

Gonzaga vs. Alabama Prediction

Alabama enters tonight’s game 6-1, with their lone loss coming in the opening round of the ESPN Events Invitational. However, the Crimson Tide rebounded with solid wins over Drake and Miami in two of the next three days in that tournament and have had six days to recover from the grind of playing three games in four days. Alabama’s loss to Iona surprised many, but it is easier to swallow when considering the Gaels have Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino on their sidelines. In addition, the two teams faced each other in the NCAA Tournament last year, which made Iona more familiar with what Alabama runs.

While Gonzaga did not play in any early-season destination tournaments per se, they too got a taste of what games are like on consecutive days when they played Bellarmine and UCLA back-to-back at the Empire Classic. Gonzaga is one of four teams in the country with multiple wins against top 25 teams, but they were knocked back from invincibility in their 84-81 loss to Duke. For the time being, Gonzaga has relinquished its hold on the AP poll No. 1 ranking, but they have still shown it will take an incredible performance for an opponent to beat them on any given day.

Alabama relies on a heavy drive-and-kick style of offense, and they entered last night with the 18th-highest average of 3-point attempts per game (28.9). The fact that they make three-point shooting such a big part of their arsenal plays well against a Gonzaga defense that is hard to score on at the rim, as the 7’0” Chet Holmgren is often waiting in the paint to alter shots. The Crimson Tide has three players (Jaden Shackelford, Keon Ellis, and Darius Miles) in their regular rotation shooting better than 39% from deep.

If you are a Crimson Tide fan, the biggest concern is how the Alabama defense will be able to hold up in the post. Arguably the best post player Alabama has faced is Iona’s Nelly Junior Joseph, and he went for 15 points and nine rebounds on 50% shooting against the Crimson Tide frontcourt. Look for Player of the Year frontrunner Drew Timme to have a field day against this soft interior, as he is due for a big game after his “quiet” 17-point performance against Duke.

It appeared unfathomable that any team could hold this Gonzaga offense to fewer than 70 points. Still, the Bulldogs struggled with an experienced Tarleton State squad that plays at the 353rd slowest tempo in the country. That will not be an issue against a Nate Oats-coached squad that likes track meets, as Alabama is one of the few teams in the country that plays at a quicker tempo than Gonzaga.

Another area where the Bulldogs have a significant advantage is at point guard, where Andrew Nembhard is much more reliable at this stage of his career than former McDonald’s All-American Jahvon Quinerly. Quinerly often struggles to take care of the basketball, as his 2.4 turnovers per game are an issue when preparing to face a pesky Gonzaga defense.

Gonzaga is 12-5 ATS in their last 17 neutral site games, and we like them to win this game convincingly.

Gonzaga vs. Alabama Pick

Mike Spector
@MikeSpector01

Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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