Tuesday's Tip Sheet
December 5, 2017
By Brian Edwards
**Gonzaga vs. Villanova**
-- These storied programs will collide tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York City at the Jimmy V Classic. As of early this morning, most betting shops had Villanova (8-0 straight up, 6-2 against the spread) installed as a five-point favorite with a total of 148.
-- Jay Wright’s team is ranked No. 1 at KenPom.com, fourth in the Associated Press’s Top 25 and 12th in the RPI Rankings. Villanova has a trio of victories over RPI Top-50 opponents, beating No. 10 Tennessee (85-76), No. 26 Northern Iowa (64-50) and No. 27 Western Kentucky (66-58). All three of these wins came at the Battle 4 Atlantis, including the spread-covering scalp of NIU in the finals on Nov. 24. The Wildcats took the cash against the Panthers as 13.5-point favorites. Junior Mikal Bridges scored a game-high 18 points, making 8-of-14 shots from the field. Bridges finished with seven rebounds, one steal, one blocked shot and one assists without committing a turnover. Jalen Brunson (6-9 FGs, 3-6 three-pointers) added 16 points, four rebounds, two steals and four assists compared to only one turnover. Phil Booth contributed 12 points, delivering one of his three treys on five launches when No. Iowa cut the deficit to six with a surge late in the second half.
-- Villanova had to overcome a 12-point halftime deficit to clip UT, once again narrowly covering the number as an eight-point ‘chalk’ in the 85-76 triumph. The Wildcats held the Volunteers scoreless for more than four minutes to start the second half, and they needed less than five minutes to take the lead at 50-48 on Brunson’s 3-pointer with 15:03 remaining. With 52 ticks left, Tennessee was down only three and it was behind by just six with 24 seconds remaining. But Villanova hooked up its backers when Donte DiVencenzo dunked with 14 ticks left on a run-out after a missed 3-ball by UT.
-- Since its return from the Bahamas, Wright’s team beat Penn 90-62 as a 21-point favorite on Nov. 29. Then this past Saturday, Villanova went into Hagan Arena and blasted Saint Joseph’s 94-53 as a 14.5-point road favorite. The 147 combined points slithered ‘under’ the 149-point total. Bridges scored a game-high 18 points to go with nine rebounds, two steals, one block and two assists without a turnover. Bridges knocked down 4-of-7 from downtown. Booth finished with 17 points, eight boards and six assists compared to merely one turnover. Omari Spellman drained 4-of-5 launches from 3-point range and finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
-- Bridges and Brunson are both scoring at a team-high 17.9 points-per-game clip. Brunson is shooting at incredible rates both from the field (64.6%) and 3-point range (51.7%). The junior guard has a 36/9 assists-to-turnovers ratio and is averaging 1.0 steals per game. Bridges (56.7% FGs, 50.0% 3’s) has a team-high 20 steals, 11 blocks and is pulling down 6.2 RPG. Spellman (9.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG) has a team-best 17 rejections.
-- Gonzaga (7-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) is ranked No. 11 at KenPom.com, 12th in the AP and No. 74 in the RPI. Mark Few’s team has three RPI Top-100 wins over No. 63 Ohio State (86-59), No. 73 Texas (76-71) and No. 51 Creighton (91-74). The Bulldogs’ only defeat came against Florida in the semifinals of the PK80 Invitational. The Gators won 111-105 in double overtime as two-point favorites at Moda Center in Portland. Johnathan Williams had 39 points and 12 rebounds vs. UF, converting 16-of-22 shots from the field. All five starters for the ‘Zags scored in double figures, with Killian Tillie and Josh Perkins contributing 17 points apiece.
-- Gonzaga captured a 91-74 win over Creighton as a nine-point home favorite this past Friday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. The Bluejays led by seven at intermission, but the Bulldogs pulled away with a 54-30 advantage in the final 20 minutes. Tillie, a 6’10” sophomore forward, produced 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a pair of steals. Senior guard Silas Melson finished with 21 points, three boards, three assists and three steals, burying 7-of-8 attempts from the field and 4-of-5 from long distance. Zach Norvell, the redshirt freshman guard, hit four triples en route to a career-high 21-points.
-- Gonzaga freshman forward Corey Kispert is ‘questionable’ tonight with an ankle injury. Kispert sat out the win over Creighton. He is averaging 10.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Kispert, who has a 9/4 assists-to-turnovers ratio and has four steals, has made 54.0 percent of his shots from the field and 37.9 percent of his attempts from downtown.
-- Gonzaga has six players scoring in double figures and a seventh (Rui Hachimura) is scoring at a 9.8 PPG clip. Williams is averaging 15.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. The Bulldogs are ranked fourth in the nation in scoring (92.9 PPG), 15th in FG percentage (51.2%) and 47th in 3-point percentage (39.7%).
-- The ‘over’ has hit in three consecutive Gonzaga games to improve to 3-2 overall.
-- Totals have been an overall wash for Villanova (4-4) this year but going back to last season, the ‘under’ is on a 23-11 run in the Wildcats’ last 34 lined contests.
-- Tip-off on ESPN is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Virginia at West Virginia**
-- West Virginia (7-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) is unbeaten in four home games with a 1-0 spread record. As of early this morning, The Mountaineers were listed as 3.5-point home favorites for tonight’s showdown vs. Virginia. The total was 135.5 points.
-- These teams met at MSG in NYC two seasons ago, with UVA capturing a 70-54 win over WVU as a 4.5-point favorite. The 124 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 135-point total. When they met in Charlottesville last year, West Virginia won a 66-57 decision as an eight-point underdog. The 123 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 128.5-point total. Jevon Carter scored a team-high 11 points for the winners, and he also had five assists, three steals and a pair of rebounds.
-- Virginia (8-0 SU, 6-1 ATS) is No. 4 at KenPom.com and No. 15 in the RPI. UVA has wins over three RPI Top-70 foes, including No. 7 Rhode Island, No. 68 Wisconsin and No. 69 Monmouth. The Cavs have also won at VCU (76-67) and vs. Vanderbilt (68-42 at Barclays Arena). They beat Rhode Island 70-55 as 6.5-point ‘chalk,’ with the 125 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 125.5-point tally. UVA knocked off the Rams in Brooklyn thanks to 19 points and six rebounds from Isaiah Wilkins. Devon Hall added 18 points.
-- Kyle Guy, the junior UVA guard, is scoring at a team-high 16.6 PPG clip. He is hitting 45.5 percent of his 3-point shots. Hall (11.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG) has buried 43.5 percent of his launches from long distance and has made 95.2 percent of his FTs.
-- Tony Bennett’s squad has covered the spread in six straight lined games. UVA won its only true road assignment at VCU by nine as a 6.5-point favorite. This is the Cavs’ first game as underdogs this year.
-- Bob Huggins’s team has ripped off seven consecutive victories since getting smashed 88-65 by Texas A&M in its opener. The Aggies, who are currently atop the RPI Rankings, won in blowout fashion at Ramstein Air Force Base in a neutral-court contest.
-- WVU is ranked 13th at KenPom.com and No. 25 in the RPI. The Mountaineers own a pair of quality scalps over Missouri (83-79) and UCF (83-45). Both of those wins came at the Advocare Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, FL, including their finals triumph over the Tigers. Carter helped WVU overcome a five-point intermission deficit by scoring a game-high 29 points. Carter had four steals, four rebounds and three assists. He drained five jumpers from 3-point territory. Daxter Miles Jr. added 26 points thanks to 14-of-15 shooting from the charity stripe.
-- Carter leads the Mountaineers in scoring (19.0 PPG), assists (5.5 APG) and steals (4.5 SPG). Miles, who scored a season-best 32 points in a blowout win over Morgan State, is averaging 14.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
-- WVU is ranked 16th in the country in scoring (89.6 PPG).
-- The ‘under’ is 5-2 overall for the Cavs, but the ‘over’ hit in their only prior road game. They’ve seen the ‘under’ prevail in four straight outings.
-- The ‘over’ is 3-2 overall for WVU, but the ‘under’ cashed in its lone lined home game.
-- ESPNU will provide the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- FSU went into the O-Dome on Monday night and trounced Florida 83-66 as a nine-point road underdog, hooking up money-line supporters with a sweet +375 payout (paid $375 on $100 wagers). The Seminoles beat UF a fourth straight time for the first time in the 68-year history of the hoops rivalry. They dominated the glass to the tune of a 51-34 advantage. Terance Mann led FSU with 25 points and eight rebounds. The ‘Noles improved to 7-0, while UF fell to 5-2 with both of its losses coming to ACC opponents. Jalen Hudson had a team-best 16 points for the Gators in the losing effort.
-- Florida had seen the ‘over’ hit in all five of its lined games, but the 149 combined points fell ‘under’ the 164.5-point total. UF head coach Mike White told the media at his postgame presser, “Tonight was the epitome of soft. They threw the first three or four punches and did not let up. Last year’s team was a lot tougher than this year’s team. This year’s team is a lot more skilled and scores better.”
- -- Wisconsin picked up a much-needed 64-63 win Monday night at Penn State. The Badgers won outright as five-point underdogs to improve to 4-5 on the season. They cashed money-line tickets in the +190 range.
-- The late game at the Jimmy V Classic will tip approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Gonzaga-Villanova. This matchup will feature a pair of former Big East rivals UConn (6-2 SU, 1-4 ATS) and Syracuse (6-1 SU, 2-4 ATS). As of early this morning, most spots had the Orange listed as a five-point favorite. The total was 131.5 points for this game that’ll be televised on ESPN.
-- The ‘under’ is 5-1 overall for the ‘Cuse, which is off its first loss of the season. Kansas knocked off the Orange 76-60 as a 10-point favorite in Miami at American Airlines Arena.
-- Syracuse guard Geno Thorpe left the program for personal reasons, the school announced Friday before facing KU. Thorpe was a grad transfer from South Florida who averaged 15.1 PPG for the Bulls last season. He played in six games for the ‘Cuse, averaging 6.0 PPG in an average of 14.3 minutes of playing time. Thorpe played a season-low four minutes in his last game for the Orange, a 72-70 win over Maryland last week.
-- UConn redshirt freshman guard Alterique Gilbert is in danger of missing a third straight game due to shoulder soreness. Gilbert, who is listed as ‘questionable,’ is averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He was scoring at a 10.3 PPG clip before underdoing season-ending shoulder surgery last December.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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