Gonzaga vs. Memphis Best Bet: Will the Zags Come Out Sluggish Again?

Gonzaga looked very pedestrian in their opening game against 16th seeded Georgia State, so how will they stack up against a very talented Memphis team tonight in the second round? Joey Ruiz breaks down the game and gives us his pick.
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Gonzaga vs. Memphis Best Bet: Will the Zags Come Out Sluggish Again?

Gonzaga comes into this matchup after getting quite the scare from Georgia State. They were trailing for a good portion of the first half and the game was close until about the 10-minute mark of the second half when the Zags made their run. In that game, Gonzaga was terrible from the free throw line and shot well below their season average of 72%. They get an interesting matchup here with a Memphis squad who is one of the longest and most athletic teams in the country. They’ll have their hands full against this incredible Zags offense though.

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

  • Date: Saturday, March 19, 2022
  • Game Time: 9:40 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: TBS

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Gonzaga vs. Memphis Line Movement

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Gonzaga ended up scoring 93 points in their first game and is currently ranked 1st in adjusted efficiency, 2nd in effective FG%, and number 1 overall in 2-point %. On the flip side, Gonzaga has also been a top five defense in the country as they are currently ranked 7th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 1st in defensive effective FG%, and 1st in defensive 2-point %. That last stat will be huge against a Memphis team who scores a majority of their offense from 2-point range and from the free throw line. Memphis scored 74.9% of their total offensive production on 2-pointers and free throws as they can struggle with their outside shooting at times. I really expect a much better effort from Gonzaga tonight as they got embarrassed by 16th seeded Georgia State for nearly 30 minutes before turning it on late.

When Gonzaga struggled this year, it was against explosive offenses like Duke and Alabama who ran them out of the gym. I don’t think Memphis is capable of putting up 80-85 points to hang with the Zags, but it will be interesting to see how the athletic Memphis defense tries to contain the best offensive attack in the nation.

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Memphis comes into this game after a very strong opening performance against Boise State where they led by nearly 20 points at halftime and held on for a double-digit win. The one thing Memphis has struggled with all season is turnovers. They are currently ranked 352nd in offensive turnover % (6th worst in D1) and 358th in percentage of offensive possessions that result in a steal (Last in D1). This last stat basically means that Memphis makes a lot of live ball turnovers which are the worst, as they can lead to easy transition opportunities. Gonzaga will be able to take advantage of this as they are one of the best transition teams in the nation. They play at an extremely fast pace and if Memphis wants to get in a track meet with Gonzaga, I don’t think it will end well for them.

On the offensive side of the ball, Memphis has done a really good job of hitting the offensive glass and getting to the free throw line. They are currently ranked 5th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage and 16th in foul rate drawn on offense. Duren, Williams, Minot, and Nolley are all at least 6’7 and crash the glass at a high rate which could be an issue as Gonzaga’s guards are a little undersized.

Overall, I expect Gonzaga to play much crisper on both sides of the ball than they did in their opening round game. Memphis is a turnover machine and the Zag’s defense is much better than most people give them credit for. I think Gonzaga should be able to do whatever they want on offense and think Memphis will be in foul trouble early given how physical Timme and Holmgren are on the inside. Holmgren is slender but with his athleticism/length, he is a very tough cover. My play for this game is GONZAGA 1H -5.5 at -110 for 1U as I think they will get off to a much better start in this game.

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Memphis Tigers Pick

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Joey has spent the last 6+ years betting on sports with a focus on basketball and baseball. Basketball is his main focus, and not many people know more about mid-major basketball than him. Whether you need advice on a Saturday night primetime game or a Tuesday night back-alley SWAC/MEAC game, Joey is your man.

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