Saturday's Late Tips
February 9, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards owns a 32-17 record (65.1%, +13.79 Units) on his guaranteed plays since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s**
-- Saint Mary’s (24-2 straight up, 11-10-1 against the spread) owns the nation’s longest current winning streak with 19 straight victories. The Gaels haven’t tasted defeat since losing to Georgia in overtime on Nov. 26.
-- The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened Saint Mary’s as a 2.5-point favorite.
-- Randy Bennett is in his 17th season at Saint Mary’s. He took the Gaels to the NCAA Tournament only once in his first six season but since 2008, they’ve been to five NCAAs and five NITs. During this span, Saint Mary’s has advanced in the NCAA Tournament twice, making the Sweet 16 in 2010 and the Round of 32 last year. The Gaels are 5-5 in 10 NIT games, making the quarterfinals in both 2009 and 2016. Bennett has a 401-160 overall record and a 191-72 mark in WCC play.
-- Saint Mary’s thumped Loyola-Marymount by an 83-62 count Thursday as a 12.5-point road favorite. Jock Landale led the way with 21 points, nine rebounds and four steals, hitting 8-of-11 field-goal attempts. Jordan Ford added 20 points on 9-of-11 FGAs and he splashed the nets on both 3-point launches. Emmett Naar handed out 12 assists compared to a pair of turnovers, and he also had seven points and two steals.
-- Gonzaga (22-4 SU, 9-13-1 ATS) has won six games in a row since losing 74-71 at Saint Mary’s on Jan. 18. However, the Bulldogs have failed to cover the number in eight consecutive contests. They won a 71-61 decision at Pacific on Thursday as 12.5-point road ‘chalk.’ Killian Tillie scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the winners, who enjoyed a 43-29 edge in the rebounding department. Josh Perkins missed all six of his 3-pointers and made only 2-of-11 field-goal attempts, yet he produced 12 points, four rebounds, two steals and five assists compared to only one turnover. Johnathan Williams contributed 10 points, 13 boards and two blocked shots.
-- Gonzaga is ranked 12th in the latest Associated Press Top 25, but it is only No. 51 in the RPI Rankings. The Bulldogs are 4-3 against the RPI Top 50 and 5-3 versus the Top 100. They have only one loss – a 72-70 setback at San Diego St. – to a team outside of the Top 100. Mark Few’s team has three huge blowout wins over quality foes on its resume. Gonzaga won 97-70 at Washington, thumped Creighton, 91-74 at home and mauled Ohio State, 86-59 at the PK80 Classic in Portland. The ‘Zags also have a neutral-court win over Texas and a home victory against BYU.
-- Gonzaga is fifth in the nation in scoring with its 86.0 points-per-game clip. The Bulldogs are ranked 13th in the country in field-goal percentage (50.1%).
-- Gonzaga owns a 7-1 SU record and a 2-5 ATS mark in eight road assignments. The Bulldogs have been double-digit favorites in 15 of their past 17 games. They’ve been underdogs only twice this season, losing 111-105 to Florida in double overtime as two-point ‘dogs, and they lost 88-72 to Villanova on Dec. 5 at MSG in NYC.
-- Williams paces the ‘Zags in scoring (13.5 points per game) and rebounding (7.6 RPG), and the senior center is shooting at a 55.5 percent clip from the field and has 28 blocked shots. Perkins (13.2 PPG, 5.2 APG) has buried 41.6 percent of his treys and has a 135/57 assist-to-turnover ratio. Tillie (12.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG) has a team-best 30 rejections and has hit 56.6 percent of his FGAs, while redshirt freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr (11.7 PPG) is also scoring in double figures.
-- Saint Mary’s is one notch in front of Gonzaga in the latest AP poll (No. 11), but it is 19 spots ahead of the Bulldogs at No. 32 in the RPI. Bennett’s squad is 1-0 versus the RPI Top 50 and 5-1 against the Top 100. The Gaels have home wins over New Mexico State (92-74), Dayton (69-54) and BYU (75-62), in addition to road victories at Gonzaga and at BYU.
-- Saint Mary’s took both of its losses in Fullerton, California, over the Thanksgiving holidays. The Gaels dropped an 84-79 decision to Washington State and lost 83-81 to Georgia in OT.
-- Landale is a first-team All-American candidate. The senior center is leading the Gaels in scoring (22.7 PPG), rebounding (10.7 RPG), FG percentage (66.0%) and blocks (1.0 BPG). Naar (10.6 PPG) paces Saint Mary’s in assists (9.1 APG) and steals (1.0 SPG) while shooting at percentages of 50.5, 40.5 and 85.5 from the field, 3-point range and the free-throw line, respectively. Calvin Hermanson (11.5 PPG) is knocking down 46.2 percent of his 3-balls.
-- The ‘under’ is 15-6-1 overall for the Gaels, 6-0-1 in their past seven games and 11-2-1 in their last 14. They’ve watched the ‘under’ cash at a lucrative 9-1 clip in their home games.
-- The ‘under’ is 12-11-1 overall for Gonzaga after going 10-4 in its last 14 games. The Bulldogs have seen the ‘under’ go 6-2 in their road outings.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
**USC at Arizona**
-- The Westgate opened Arizona (19-6 SU, 8-15-2 ATS) as a 5.5-point favorite. A few offshore shops had the total at 155 on Friday night.
-- Sean Miller’s team is hoping to avoid a three-game losing streak after getting beaten at the buzzer at Washington last weekend, and then going down at home to UCLA on Thursday night. The Bruins went into the McKale Center and captured an 82-74 victory as nine-point road underdogs. UA’s Allonzo Trier scored a team-best 17 points, while Dandre Ayton finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
-- Arizona remains in first place in the Pac-12 standings with its 9-3 record in conference action. The Wildcats are one game ahead of UCLA and USC, both of whom are sporting 8-4 ledgers in Pac-12 play.
-- Arizona has won 12 of its 13 home games, but it has a miserable 3-8 spread record. In 12 games as single-digit ‘chalk’ this year, the Wildcats have posted an atrocious 1-10-1 spread record.
-- Trier (19.8 PPG) has made 53.8 percent of his FGAs, 41.7 percent of his 3-pointers and 85.4 percent of his FTs. Ayton is averaging 19.5 points and 10.8 RPG, and he’s rejected 46 shots. Rawle Alkins is scoring at a 13.2 PPG clip, while Dusan Ristic (11.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG) is also averaging in double figures.
-- Arizona is No. 22 in the RPI Rankings, producing a 3-3 record against the Top 50 and a 9-6 mark versus the Top 100. The Wildcats have home wins over Alabama, Arizona St., UConn, Oregon, Colorado and Utah, in addition to a neutral-court scalp of Texas A&M and road triumphs at Utah and at Stanford.
-- Arizona is 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in the last six head-to-head meetings with USC. The ‘over’ is on a 4-1 run in this rivalry.
-- USC (17-8 SU, 16-9 ATS) has won outright in four of its eight road assignments, compiling a 5-3 spread record in those games.
-- USC is No. 44 in the RPI with a 2-5 record against the Top 50 and a 7-7 mark versus the Top 100. The Trojans beat Middle Tennessee and New Mexico St. on a neutral court and have a road win at Oregon. They have home victories over the likes of UC Santa Barbara, Colorado, Utah and Stanford.
-- Like Arizona, Southern Cal has also lost back-to-back games at UCLA (82-79) and at Arizona St. (80-78), but at least it covered the number as a three-point ‘dog at ASU. The Trojans led 78-71 with 2:27 remaining, but the Sun Devils finished the game on a 9-0 run. Nick Rakocevic needed only six FGAs and 24 minutes of playing time to produce 19 points and seven rebounds, while Bennie Boatwright added 18 points, eight boards and three assists. Boatwright drained 4-of-9 attempts from downtown, while Chimezie Metu had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists.
-- Metu is leading USC in scoring (15.7 PPG), rebounding (7.4 RPG) and blocked shots (1.6 BPG). Boatwright is averaging 14.6 points and 6.5 RPG, while Jordan McLaughlin (12.1 PPG) has a stellar 189/62 assist-to-turnover ratio and has buried 41.6 percent of his shots from long distance.
-- The ‘over’ is 14-10-2 overall for the Wildcats, 6-6 in their home outings.
-- The ‘under’ is 13-10-2 overall for USC, producing a 7-2-1 record in its past 10 contests. The Trojans have seen the ‘under’ hit at a 5-2-1 clip in their road games.
-- ESPN will have the telecast at 10:15 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Arkansas is mired in a 2-10 ATS slump going into Saturday night’s SEC showdown vs. Vanderbilt on the SEC Network at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. On the flip side, Vandy is on a 5-1 ATS surge with the only non-cover coming in last Saturday’s 12-point loss at Auburn as an 11.5-point underdog.
-- It’s no secret that Georgia has struggled immensely in getting scoring help for Yante Maten, who leads the SEC with his 19.3 PPG average. Rayshaun Hammonds, the 4-star signee who was the jewel of Mark Fox’s 2017 freshman class, was expected to provide some of that support and did score in double figures in seven of UGA’s first 14 games. However, Hammonds is in an atrocious shooting slump! Check out these numbers: 2-of-22 from the field in the last five games and 4-of-32 (15.0%) in the past eight. Hammonds logged at least 20 minutes of playing time in 19 of UGA’s first 20 games, but Fox has understandably cut back his minutes (nine, four & four) in the last three outings.
-- Auburn will face UGA at Stegeman Coliseum at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network. The Westgate opened the Tigers as 4.5-point favorite. When these teams met on The Plains last month, Georgia led by 14 at intermission but still failed to cover the spread as a nine-point underdog in a 79-65 loss. Auburn’s Bryce Brown is listed as ‘questionable’ after leaving Wednesday’s home loss to Texas A&M with a shoulder injury. Brown is Bruce Pearl’s leading scorer who is averaging 16.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Brown dropped 28 points on the Bulldogs in the first meeting at Auburn Arena. UGA sophomore guard Jordan Harris (3.7 PPG, 2.1 RPG) is ‘out’ vs. AU after being suspended indefinitely last week.
-- Already without starting guard Phil Booth (hand) for several more weeks, Villanova won’t have Eric Paschall for Saturday’s home game vs. Butler. Pachall is averaging 10.1 points and 4.6 RPG. These Big East rivals will collide at noon Eastern on FOX.
-- South Carolina has won four of the past five head-to-head meetings against Florida both SU and ATS. The Gators opened as 2.5-point favorites at The Westgate for the noon Eastern tip from Columbia on CBS. The Wynn opened UF at -4.5 but was down to -3 by early Friday evening.
-- I hit my fourth straight guaranteed play in college hoops Friday by backing Indiana as a 6.5-point home favorite. The Hoosiers covered the spread for the eighth straight time at home in an 80-56 win over Minnesota.
-- Rhode Island stayed unbeaten in Atlanta-10 play with Friday’s 72-59 win over Davidson as a 5.5-point home ‘chalk.’
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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