7:15 pm
March 30

NCAA Tournament West Region: #6 USC v. #1 Gonzaga

Who will WIN this matchup?

#6 USC Trojans (25-7)

#1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-0)


Current odds:

USC Trojans: (+370)

Gonzaga Bulldogs: (-450)


The line for this game is Gonzaga by 8.5 points.

Most college basketball fans are probably familiar by now with Gonzaga’s big three of Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme. They were the first trio from the same team to be among 10 players chosen for the Wooden All-American team. Kispert was named a finalist for the Wooden Award, which goes to the national player of the year. The three have led the top-seeded Bulldogs to the Elite Eight, and an accompanying meeting Tuesday with sixth-seeded Southern California.

But what about the Bulldogs’ other starters? Well, Andrew Nembhard and Joel Ayayi showed in Sunday’s 83-65 victory against Creighton in the NCAA Tournament’s West Region semifinal that they deserve the defense’s attention as well. Nembhard and Ayayi combined for 30 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists as Gonzaga (29-0), the top overall seed, moved within a game of their second Final Four berth. Nembhard’s 17 points Sunday were two shy of his season high set Dec. 2 in an 87-82 victory against West Virginia, the Bulldogs’ lone game to be decided by fewer than 10 points this season.

Gonzaga is chasing history as well as its first NCAA title. The Bulldogs could become the first undefeated champion since Indiana in 1975-76.

Gonzaga’s victory in Sunday’s early game assured the West Region final would be an all-West Coast affair. While the Bulldogs will be making their fourth Elite Eight appearance in the past six tournaments, the Trojans earned their first trip in 20 years and just their second in six decades with their victory in the late game, 82-68 over Pac-12 rival Oregon 82-68 Sunday night. Isaiah White led the Trojans (25-7) with 22 points, and their zone defense shut down Oregon’s potent attack.

USC’s 7-foot freshman Evan Mobley, considered a potential top-three pick in the next NBA draft, had just 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting against the Ducks, but added eight rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots.

StreakSmarter Pick
#1 Gonzaga Bulldogs