April 3, 2017
There is one pick today.
Take Gonzaga +2 spread (buy the half point) against North Carolina for 3% of the bankroll.
Tonight's National Title matchup is a fitting resolution to what has been an incredible college basketball season as it features not only two number one seeds, but two teams who have arguably been the top two teams in the country for the entire season. UNC has a chance for a potential "do-over" as they made their way back to the title game after falling to Villanova a season ago, on a buzzer beating 3-pointer by Kris Jenkins. While it's fitting that the Tar Heels have another chance at championship glory, we believe their ending is going to play out eerily similar to a season ago.
Hands down, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the best team in the country. They are 37-1 on the season and have won by an average of 21.9 points per game. They have averaged 83.1 points per game this season and are shooting an ultra-impressive 50.8% from the field. Despite those eye-popping facts, the Bulldogs still have not truly gotten the respect that they deserve because they play in the West Coast Conference. All season long, people have devaluing what the Zags have done and we believe that is going to come back and bite them in this matchup. Despite playing in the WCC, Gonzaga had a very strong non-conference slate and rose to the occasion each and every time. They hold wins this season over the likes of, Florida, Iowa State, Arizona, West Virginia, St Mary's, South Carolina and have done so all on neutral courts. The Zags are no strangers to taking a step up in competition and have done nothing but win when they have. This is an extremely confident team and will not be intimidated by the like of North Carolina.
Very few teams in the country can match the size and athleticism that North Carolina brings to the floor, but the Zags are one team that can. During nearly every game this season, the Tar Heels have had either an advantage at the point guard position or were at least evenly matched. That will not be the case in this contest as Joel Berry simply isn't the same player as he was at the start of the season. Berry has had a poor tournament thus far and is coming off arguably his worst game of the season against Oregon which saw him go just 2 of 14 from the field. Berry had a week to rest prior to the Oregon matchup and there was no question that his ankles were bothering him in that contest. Now, having to play less than 48 hours later, that simply isn't enough time for him to rest and that will pose a real issue for the Heels.
Another area where the Tar Heels have nearly always had the advantage was with their frontcourt. UNC is an extremely long team which allows them to dominate on the glass. It was that size which allowed the Heels to close out their Final 4 matchup with Oregon, recovering two offensive boards off missed free throws. Gonzaga, however, is one of the few teams in the country that can match North Carolina in both size and depth. Not only do the Zags feature the biggest player in this matchup, in Przemek Karnowski, but they also have three other big men that can match the size in the interior in 6'9 Johnathan Williams, 7'0 Zach Collins & 6'10 Killian Tillie.
One area that we feel has been overlooked in this matchup has been the fact that Gonzaga's defense has been (statistically) the best in the tournament. They have been holding teams to just 34.6% shooting from the field in this tournament and it's not like this has been surprising. On the season, the Zags had only allowed an average of 61.2 points per game. Defense is one of the few area of the game that rarely changes or 'goes cold'. Defense carries over from game to game and we believe the Zags will undoubtedly have the better defense in this matchup.
There is no question that the Tar Heels are the bigger-named, more storied program, however we don't believe they are the better overall team. Gonzaga has defied the odds all season long and we believe they will do it once again tonight in the championship game. We expect this matchup to be close throughout, but the Zags will do what they have done all season long and that is find a way to win when the game is on the line. We believe Gonzaga wins this game outright and the points are simply a bonus.
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