NCAA Basketball Picks: San Francisco vs. Gonzaga 2/20/20

by | Feb 20, 2020 | cbb

San Francisco Dons (17-10 SU, 12-13 ATS) vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-1 SU, 14-13 ATS)

When: Thursday, February 20, 11 p.m.

Where: McCarthey Athletic Center, Spokane, Wash.


Point Spread: SF +18/GONZ -18 (GTBets - Deposit $100 and get a FREE $100 bet!)

Total: O/U 156

Last Time Out:

San Francisco beat Santa Clara 70-61; Gonzaga beat Pepperdine 89-77

Scouting the Dons:

Have the Dons shot their wad for this season? San Francisco has lost three of its past four games, and it seems that it’s basically settled into its role as a middling WCC squad. A team that is capable of putting a scare into the top teams in the conference but also has the potential to get beat by the worst teams in the league. A large part of why the Dons are susceptible to the upset is the fact that San Francisco is about as bad as it gets at defending the 3-pointer, which makes it relatively easy for lesser teams to shoot their way back into the game.

The way San Francisco can win is by getting a strong performance out of center Jimbo Lull and guard Jordan Ratinho. Lull is not the type of player who usually shows up at WCC schools not named Gonzaga, as he’s a 7-foot, 250-pound senior who can both score and rebound, giving the Dons a real presence in the face of Gonzaga’s height. But the Dons’ most important player might be guard Jordan Ratinho, who serves as the team’s perimeter leader. Ratinho had 14 points in the first meeting between the teams, and he’ll need to be at his best for the Dons to have a shot.

Scouting the Bulldogs:

Drew Timme came off the bench nicely for Gonzaga when Killian Tillie was unable to play in the teams’ meeting in San Francisco, and without him, Gonzaga probably would have lost to the Dons. Tillie is questionable for this game, and it’s uncertain as to how much the Bulldogs will play him with BYU coming up on Saturday. If Tillie can’t go or is limited, Timme will likely get the bulk of the minutes. Along with Filip Petrusev, Timme has been dominant down low when he’s gotten the chance to play, as the two have combined for 52 blocks this season.

But it’s Gonzaga’s offense that buries opponents, and Petrusev has been the main component of the Bulldogs’ attack. At 6-11, Petrusev is an outstanding rebounder and an accurate shooter, leading the Bulldogs in both scoring and rebounding. Against San Francisco, he proved nearly impossible for the Dons to stop, as he scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help his team seal the win.

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Human nature. Mike Krzyzewski pointed to it on Wednesday after N.C. State hammered Duke by noting that sometimes, a team is just not going to have it on a certain night. But Gonzaga has had it against San Francisco for eight years now, winning 17 consecutive games against the Dons. There have been good San Francisco teams, bad ones, and mediocre ones, but Gonzaga has always had more than enough to handle San Francisco regardless of where the game is played. Human nature did catch up with the Bulldogs to an extent when the teams met in California, but Gonzaga still managed to win that game by four points. Will Gonzaga be ready for the challenge this time, or will the Bulldogs again find themselves in a fight to the finish?

San Francisco will Cover if:

Jimbo Lull can get going inside. Lull has the body needed to make life difficult for Petrusev and Tillie, and he’ll need to be at his best to get his offense going. San Francisco is going to have to score to keep pace with Gonzaga because the Bulldogs are definitely going to put up points. If the Dons aren’t scoring, they’re going to have a hard time staying within shouting distance, and the way for San Francisco to get some points is to feed Lull and let him work.

Gonzaga will Cover if:

The Bulldogs can take advantage of the Dons’ weak 3-point defense. Gonzaga only attempted five 3-pointers in the game in San Francisco, and although they have the talent to make that work for their advantage inside, the deep shots will be open. If Gonzaga is scoring triples while San Francisco scores inside, it won’t matter what Jimbo Lull does.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:

One thing you might not know about Gonzaga is that the Bulldogs are the best “over” team in the nation, having hit the over in 22 of their 27 games this season. That’s what happens when you average 88.6 points a game: the oddsmakers can’t set the total high enough. Here’s something else that you should know about Gonzaga: the Bulldogs aren’t hitting these double-digit spreads as of late. Of the Bulldogs’ past five games, four of them have resulted in a spread loss for Gonzaga, and all of them were the games where the Bulldogs were favored by at least 10. However, prior to the Loyola Marymount game, Gonzaga had covered in three straight league games in Spokane, begging the question of whether it was the Bulldogs slipping or playing everyone on the road that had them playing closer games.

Personally, I think it’s a little of both. Timme is a solid player, but Tillie gives the Bulldogs that extra gear that makes them special. With him limited, I don’t really want to give 18 points to a team like San Francisco. The Dons tend to play to their competition, and no Tillie means that they should be able to hang around. The over appears a solid play, and I’ve got to take the points with San Francisco in a game I expect Gonzaga to win by around nine or 10 points. Bet this game and ALL your college hoops/NBA games at -105 odds! Making the switch to discounted betting odds will saving you tons of money! Click here to start betting smarter today!

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