Gonzaga vs. FSU 2018 March Madness Betting Preview & Pick

Gonzaga vs. FSU 2018 March Madness Preview & Pick

Fourth-seeded Gonzaga, the defending national runner-up, was expected to return to the Sweet 16 this season. No. 9 Florida State, of the ACC, was not. But the Seminoles are a deep group capable of the upset as the teams meet in the West Region Thursday night for a spot in the Elite Eight. Who will the March Madness betting pick for this matchup?

Gonzaga vs. FSU 2018 March Madness Betting Preview & Pick

When: Thursday, 10:07 PM ET Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles TV: TBS Stream: March Madness Live Radio: Gonzaga IMG Radio (Gonzaga) / 103.1 FM (FSU) Opening March Madness Betting Lines: Gonzaga -5.5 (154)

Latest March Madness Betting Trends

  • Seminoles are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Thursday games.
  • Seminoles are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
  • Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
  • Bulldogs are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Gonzaga is 4-13-1 ATS in their last 18 games following a ATS win.

Why Bet on Gonzaga?

The Zags (32-4) escaped their first-round game 68-64 over UNC Greensboro and then beat No. 5 Ohio State in the Round of 32, 90-84. Freshman Zach Norvell Jr. had 28 points, hit six 3-pointers and grabbed 12 rebounds against OSU.  A redshirt last season, Norvell averaged 12.3 points to help Gonzaga sweep the WCC regular-season and tournament titles. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard has elevated his game on the sport’s biggest stage, hitting a late tiebreaking 3-pointer against UNC Greensboro in the opening round to help the Zags advance. Late against the Buckeyes, Johnathan Williams (19 points, 13 rebounds against UNC Greensboro) wasn’t on the floor vs. OSU because of his problems at the free throw line. But Rui Hachimura dropped 25 points off the bench. Killian Tillie’s 3-for-12 combined performance in the two games so far is reason for concern. On the bright side, Gonzaga showcased the poise witnessed when Mark Few’s team made a run to the national title game last year. With 5:14 to play in Saturday’s game, the teams were tied, 67-67. Over the next three-plus minutes, however, the Bulldogs launched an 11-2 run that helped Gonzaga regain the momentum.

How Well Have the Bulldogs Done in the Tournament?

Gonzaga is making its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 21st overall.  The 20 straight berths to the field is the fourth-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas, Duke, Michigan State).  The Zags are 31-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament appearances with eight trips to the Sweet 16, three trips to the Elite Eight, one Final Four and an appearance in a national championship game. GU is 28-18 in the NCAA Tournament under Few with a berth in all 19 seasons of Few’s head coaching career. During Few’s coaching career, his GU teams are 21-5 as the higher seed, including a 14-1 mark since 2009. The Bulldogs are 22-14 all-time as a single-digit seed, with an 12-2 record in first round games as a single-digit seed, and 8-7 in the round-of-32. GU is four-seed for the second time in program history. The 2008-09 Zags defeated [13] Akron and [12] Western Kentucky in the South Regional in Portland, Ore., before falling to [1] North Carolina in Memphis, Tenn.

Why Bet on Florida State?

Florida State entered the NCAA tournament with a 4-6 record in its past 10 games. And it was down late against 1 seed Xavier before it pulled off the upset with an 18-4 run in the final 5:30 of the game to win 75-70. PJ Savoy made a 3- pointer with 1:08 left to give Florida State its first lead of the second half, and the Seminoles rallied from a 12-point deficit. It was FSU’s first ever win against a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and it brings about the school’s fifth all-time appearance in the Sweet 16 and first since 2011. The Seminoles exacted a measure of revenge on Xavier, which ended their season in this same round a year ago. Brian Angola led five Seminoles in double figures with 16 points. Trent Forrest added 13, Savoy finished with 11, and Phil Cofer had 10. Florida State had the size, length and athleticism to hold All-American candidate Trevon Bluiett to a 2-for-8 clip from the field.

What Help the Seminoles to Win vs. Xavier?

The Seminoles utilized their bench – 11 players entered the Xavier game in the first eight minutes – which allows them to keep fresh bodies on the court and apply constant pressure defensively. The bench contributed 45 points in Sunday’s win. FSU wore down Xavier in the closing minutes. The Seminoles broke down Xavier with dribble penetration for several key baskets late in the game. Terance Mann was originally listed doubtful on Sunday. He decided to give it a go after he had been battling a groin injury. Head coach Leonard Hamilton chose to not start him and instead inserted senior Brandon Allen. Allen has only played in 21 games this season and got just three minutes vs. Xavier. Mann was able to play 24 minutes, scoring 10 points, knock down a three-pointer and grabbed two boards. Teammates after the game said that seeing Mann push through in such critical moments helped them to do the same. Florida State’s leading scorer for much of the season, Mann (12.8 ppg) was a key part of FSU’s last three teams and assumed a new role as a locker room leader this year. The Seminoles rank 16th nationally at 5.2 blocks per game, led by 7-footer Ike Obiagu (67), 7-4 Christ Koumadje (34) and 6-9 Mfiondu Kabengele (24).

Expert March Madness Betting Prediction

Think Gonzaga wins the game but take the points. FSU has much more depth.
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