Gonzaga (15-0) at San Diego (2-6)
When: Thursday, January 28th, 2021
Where: Jenny Craig Pavilion,
San Diego, CA
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: TBA
Opening Odds: Gonzaga -26.5/157.5
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It’s a West Coast Conference matchup that looks like a total mismatch on paper as the No. 1 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs visit the San Diego Toreros on Thursday night at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Toreros, who average almost 30 points per game less than the Bulldogs, have experienced two 14-day quarantines due to COVID-19 issues. This will be just their ninth game of the season, but they are coming off a season-high scoring output with Saturday’s 78-70 road win over Portland. It ended a stretch in which it scored fewer than 70 in four straight games. It has been a frustrating season for San Diego due to the isolation breaks, one that delayed the start of the season and the other after the first of the year. The Toreros also had three straight games canceled just before Christmas. San Diego will now play eight games in 17 days to try and make up all of those postponements. The first one will not be easy as Gonzaga is the clear No. 1 team in the country, averaging 94.4 points per contest. The Bulldogs have won 19 in a row dating back to last season and have won nine games this season by 20 or more points. The Bulldogs have won the past 12 meetings, 23 of the last 24, and 45 of the past 48 and the last five in San Diego have been by an average of 30.2 points. Gonzaga is coming off a 95-49 home win over Pacific and held the Tigers to just 27.9 percent shooting.
Drew Timme was sharp against Pacific for the Zags as he scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting and has 20 or more points in three of the past four games. Timme is shooting 61.2 percent from the field and ranks second on the team in both scoring (18.5 points per game) and rebounding (6.9). Corey Kispert is the team leader at 20.6 points and is shooting an amazing 49 percent from beyond the arc. Jalen Suggs (13.9) and Joel Ayayi (12.5) also average in double digits, while the latter is averaging a team-leading 7.5 boards. The Zags are also shooting 54.9 percent from the field and have a 60.4 effective field goal percentage – also the best in the nation. Gonzaga will travel to Pepperdine on Saturday.
Josh Parrish was the star against the Pilots with a season-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while also grabbing eight boards. He averages 11.9 points per game, second on the Toreros behind Joey Calcaterra’s 14.7. Three other San Diego starters chipped in double-figure contributions on offense against Portland and the team shot 56.4 percent from the field. Calcaterra had 12 points off the bench to make it four players total in double-figures. San Diego is averaging 65.4 points per game while giving up 73.6 points per contest. The over is 3-2 in San Diego’s last five games as the home team and they will host Loyola Marymount on Saturday.
It’s really hard to lay this many points in any game, much less a road game, but I’m doing it here. We all know the Zags are the best team with the best offense in the country. How many will San Diego score? Probably not much. They are 304th in scoring and 247th in 3-point shooting. The Zags are deep and the bench will play a big part in covering this spread in the second half.
Pick: Gonzaga -26.5