We may have missed out on a marquee college basketball matchup between Gonzaga and Baylor last week, but we’re in for a treat on Saturday when the No. 1 Bulldogs take on No. 3 Hawkeyes in a battle between the top scoring teams in the country.
Gonzaga will play their first game in eight days this weekend when they take on Iowa at Sioux Falls Arena.
In a game that will determine who the number one team in the country is, Gonzaga is set as a 3-point favorite at BetOnline.
Can Gonzaga Slow Down Luka Garza?
The early season favorite to win the John R. Wooden Award, Luka Garza, has met every lofty expectation that was laid on him so far this season. Among players who have played at least two games, Luka Garza is the leading scorer by a wide margin. He’s averaging a mind-blowing 29.2 points per game along with 9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.
He should be in for another big game as Gonzaga hasn’t exactly been a defensive powerhouse in their first three games. They’re allowing an opponent FG percentage of 42.8 which is 137th in the country, while also allowing a total of 79.7 points per game.
Without much hope of slowing Garza down, the Bulldogs will simply need to outscore him.
All Signs Point to an Offensive Shootout
If you take a look at the leaderboard for team points per game, you’ll see two names at the top; Iowa and Gonzaga. If watching a game between the No. 1 and No. 3 ranked teams isn’t enough to convince you to tune in, a game between the two highest scoring teams in the nation certainly will. The Hawkeyes are averaging 100.5 points per game while Gonzaga is right behind them at 93 points per game. There is no way this game turns into anything other than an offensive shootout.
One of the reasons why both teams have been putting up insane offensive numbers is their pace of play. Both teams rank in the top 15 in the country in field goals attempted per game and the Bulldogs also rank 8th in possessions per game. Neither team wastes much time with the ball in their hand and fast break points have been a key to their success.
Not only are both teams shooting the ball at a high rate, but they’ve been absolutely lights out from the field as well. Gonzaga leads the country in FG percentage at 55.3 while Iowa ranks 15th at 51 percent.
Battle-Tested Gonzaga Knows What it Takes to Win
Despite not playing for an 8-game stretch due to COVID-19 protocols, Gonzaga has had one of the toughest opening schedules in the country. They’re 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS heading into this game, but two of their three games have come against ranked opponents in No. 6 Kansas and No. 11 West Virginia. Their game against an unranked opponent was no cake-walk either as Auburn is always a tough test.
While Iowa has dominated every opponent they’ve played this season, they haven’t had quite the competition that Gonzaga has. The only ranked team they’ve faced was No. 16 UNC. The Hawkeyes did manage to cover the 4-point spread in that game and they enter this matchup with an impressive 5-1 ATS record.
Best Bet: OVER 172.5
In a game between two teams that could very well enter March Madness as number one seeds, it’s near impossible to pick a side. The best bet to make in this game, and the one that will be the most exciting to cheer for, is the OVER.
Both teams have an extremely fast paced offense and neither team has shown quite the same dominance on the defensive side of the court.
If you’re not going to take the OVER when the two top scoring teams in the country face off against each other, then what are we even doing here?