Basketball Pick: Pepperdine Waves vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Pepperdine Waves (12-15, 15-10 ATS) vs. #2 Gonzaga Bulldogs (25-2, 18-9 ATS)
When: Thursday, February 21st, 2019 – 9:00 pm ET
Where: McCarthey Athletic Center – Spokane, WA
TV: Local TV Only
By: Kyle Cash, NCAA Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PEPP +27.5/GONZ -27.5 (Bovada Sportsbook)
Thank you, Mr. Boeheim. I equally applaud your commitment to burying teams on your home court and the rampant nepotism that allowed your son to get a scholarship to play for your team (I’m kidding – Buddy Boeheim can ball). Syracuse-Louisville will forever be remembered as the game that aired before the biggest letdown in college basketball history. Zion’s fat foot ruined one of the best perennial sports games of the year… as well as Dan’s pick! Freaking Zion.
Let’s settle in for a game where the outcome has already been decided. The soon-to-be 1-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs have the honor and privilege of hosting the Pepperdine…Waves? Oh boy. This is going to be a bad one. The Zags come into the game as a 27.5-point home favorite with the total set to 157.5 points. Best bet: Gonzaga ML -20000. Guaranteed winner. My work here is done.
Salt and Pepperdine
The last time Pepperdine beat Gonzaga in Spokane, the following things were true: President Bill Clinton was the Times’ Man of the Year, Seinfeld was in its final season, and your very own Kyle Cash was learning his ABC’s in kindergarten. We’re 22 Marvel Movies and one Donald Trump presidency removed from that fateful day, and Pepperdine has a better chance of having a badass mascot than they do a chance at upsetting the Zags. The freaking Waves. I’ll never stop laughing at that. California is so soft.
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Despite what I and their record may say, Pepperdine is not without its merits. Lorenzo Romar is looking to capitalize on the school’s beautiful campus and location to draw top level recruits, and there’s a real possibility that the Waves can come crashing down on the WCC in the coming years (I love this so much). To stay close with Gonzaga, Pepperdine will need to expand upon their respectable 3-point shooting. Sophomore guard Colbey Ross is the one guy who can create some offense, and with Rui Hachimura likely locking up Ross’ teammate Kameron Edwards, the onus will be on him to have the game of his life. If Pepperdine can pile on the points early, they may be able to cross the Mendoza line and reach a point where it’s impossible for Gonzaga to outscore them by 28 or more. But if their offense sputters, they’ll just be another notch on the Zags’ bedpost.
Running of the Bulldogs
With the Duke Blue Devils successfully vanquished, there’s nothing but paydirt between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and a number one overall seed. With any luck, they’ll wind up with some combination of Kansas and Louisville in their region and be able to ride this wave (sorry Pepperdine) of momentum right into a Final Four appearance. Their fate lies in their own hands now. How sweet it is.
With games that feature spreads larger than my age, I find it best not to linger on the possibility of an upset. Instead, we should be examining the likelihood that Gonzaga keeps their foot on the pedal. After a string of massacres, the Bulldogs have reined it in just a smidge as they head towards the home stretch, and they’ve only won their last two games by 13 points a piece. With BYU marching into town on Saturday, there’s a distinct possibility that Mark Few lets the walk-ons stretch their legs sooner rather than later, and I would hate to lose money because Colin Dougherty came in and blew the cover for the Zags. That’s a real person – look him up.
Okay, you got me. I made him up. Jokes aside, Gonzaga’s offense is number one across the board, and if all goes according to their plan, this game will be closer to a double up than a cover.
I know that the college basketball layman isn’t exactly up-to-date on the happenings of the West Coast Conference, so allow me to be your guide. And I guide in the only way I know how: pop culture references that probably make more sense to me than to you. But Gonzaga has been running through the WCC in the same way that Daenerys Targaryen blah blah blah the Mother of Dragons has been laying siege to Essos in her time on Game of Thrones. Gonzaga has their three dragons (Achimura, Clarke and Norvell), but they also have their Tyrion (Perkins) and their Varys (Corey Kispert). To spare you any more pain, I’ll grant you mercy and just lay a statistic on you: Gonzaga has won its past 16 games by an average of *enters statistics* *checks calculations* *squints at the screen* *runs the numbers again* *drops my mug Keyser Soze-style* THIRTY-TWO POINTS! They’re scorching the Earth in a way that would make Czar Alexander I blush, and it’s an insult to the Zags that they’re only favored by 27.5 points. Mark Few’s gang has been as savage on their opponents as a Dothraki rider, and they’ll have no hesitation in blowing the doors off of Pepperdine for the 36th time in a row. Time to light this team on fire. Dracarys.
Final Score Prediction: Gonzaga Bulldogs 98 – Pepperdine Waves 52