We’ve already seen UCLA punch its ticket to the Sweet 16 on the bottom of the West Region.
Awaiting the Bruins will either be Gonzaga or TCU, two teams that took very different paths to Sunday’s clash in the second round.
The Bulldogs cruised to a relatively stress-free victory over Grand Canyon on Friday.
At the same time, the Horned Frogs narrowly survived a first-round test from Arizona State that went down to the final possession.
Here’s how we’re betting Sunday’s contest, which tips off at 9:40 p.m. ET on TBS.
Betting on March Madness 2023?
Gonzaga vs. TCU odds
- Gonzaga -4.5 (-110), moneyline -190
- TCU +4.5 (-110), moneyline +160
- O/U 153.5 (under -115)
Gonzaga vs. TCU prediction and analysis
(9:40 p.m. ET. TBS)
It took everything the Horned Frogs had to escape their first-round tilt with Arizona State, a team that barely made the field of 68.
That effort simply won’t be enough to slay Gonzaga on Sunday.
By now, you surely know the tale of TCU’s season: the team opened the year with a 13-1 record, punctuated by a huge road win over Baylor in early January.
Two weeks later, the Horned Frogs blew out Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse and looked like a legitimate contender to win it all.
Then the injuries piled up: leading scorer Mike Miles (17.6 PPG) and starting center Eddie Lampkin (5.9 RPG) rotated in and out of the lineup during the team’s four-game losing streak in mid-February, and while Miles returned later that month, he hasn’t looked the same since.
That’s an issue for TCU, which clearly isn’t whole heading into the second round.
Lumpkin isn’t coming back, and Miles has shot better than 50% from the field just once in his eight games back from a right knee injury – only to injure his right leg in the first half of Friday’s 72-70 win over Arizona State.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga looks like a well-oiled machine after blowing out Grand Canyon in the first round.
That’s par for the course for this group, which owns the nation’s second-best scoring margin (14.5) and second-longest win streak (10 games) while ranking as the No. 1 team in the country over that 10-game stretch, per T-Rank.
We know what to expect from the Bulldogs’ offense, which ranks first in adjusted efficiency for the fourth time in five years.
Drew Timme (20.9 PPG) is a key reason why, though future pro-Julian Strawther (15.5) has come on strong down the stretch as a secondary scorer and floor-spacer.
Can Gonzaga’s defense hold its own?
The Zags rank 75th in defensive efficiency but have shown moments of brilliance this year: they held Saint Mary’s to its worst offensive efficiency of the season (81.8) in the WCC Tournament final, and they did the same to Baylor (85.8) in a one-point loss in early December.
This is a team that can hang with the big boys as well as blow out the inferior competition, which bodes well for Sunday’s matchup with a TCU team that’s lost 11 of its last 20 games.
Yes, injuries were a factor, but they’ll likely play a role in Sunday’s contest, too – making an already tough task even more arduous for the underdogs.
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