Saturday's Late Action
March 23, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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Saturday's third round action concludes with two intriguing matchups in Salt Lake City and San Jose. Syracuse and California close the night in the Bay Area, while Gonzaga tries to put Thursday's close shave against Southern behind them.
(1) Gonzaga vs. (9) Wichita State - 8:40 PM EST - TNT
There were plenty of questions regarding the Zags and whether or not their schedule warranted them a top-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga was three minutes away from making the wrong kind of history on Thursday as the first top-seed to get bounced by a 16-seed in the opening round. However, Mark Few's club held off a feisty Southern squad from the SWAC in a 64-58 victory, but failed to cash as 22-point favorites.
Wichita State went wire-to-wire in a dominating defensive effort over Pittsburgh, 73-55 to easily cover as four-point underdogs. The Shockers found a way to advance in spite of 39% shooting from the floor and knocking down just 2-of-20 shots from downtown. Gregg Marshall's team took advantage of Pitt's physical play by hitting 33-of-41 free throws, while limiting the Panthers to 35% shooting.
The Shockers have won eight of their last 11 games, as WSU has drilled the 'over' in four of the past five contests. Past the victory over Pitt, the Shockers lost twice to Creighton, but beat VCU back in early November, the only games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The underdog role is a rare one for Wichita State, who went 3-2 ATS when receiving points.
Gonzaga is in the midst of a frantic 'under' run by hitting the 'under' in 15 of the last 17 contests. The Bulldogs posted a 5-3-1 ATS record as a single-digit favorite this season, as the Zags are listed as 6 ½-point favorites with a total of 128 ½.
(4) Syracuse vs. (12) California - 9:50 PM EST - TBS
There were some doubts about the Orange heading into Thursday's matchup against Big Sky champion Montana, as the Grizzlies were a prime candidate to pull off a second round upset. However, Syracuse came out smoking as the Orange routed Montana, 81-34 as 13-point favorites, while the Grizzlies failed to have one player score in double-figures.
Cal held off UNLV to avenge an earlier loss to the Rebels, 64-61 to cash outright as 3 ½-point underdogs. The Golden Bears were led by Allen Crabbe's 19 points, as UNLV shot just 32% from the field. Mike Montgomery's club improved to 4-6 ATS in the 'dog role, which they will be in tonight against Syracuse.
The Golden Bears are coming through in the 'under' department, cashing in five of the last seven games. In this stretch, Cal has allowed 61 points or less five times, including giving up 46 points in a two-point triumph at Oregon last month. The Bears are playing in the third round for just the second time since 2008, as Cal fell to Duke in 2010 as 6 ½-point 'dogs, 68-53.
Syracuse owns a 6-9 ATS record the last 15 games in the favorite role, but three of those defeats came when laying double-digits. The Orange has picked up consecutive covers just three times since mid-January, as Jim Boeheim's team is listed as seven-point favorites with the total set at 127.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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