Submitted by Wayne Root on Monday, February 13, 2017 at 4:00 PM
It’s very odd to ask this about a team that’s undefeated in mid-February, and is very likely to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament next month. But, because Gonzaga continues to be so DIS-RESPECTED by the national media and oddsmakers….I have to ask…can Gonzaga shock the nation in the Big Dance and win a national championship?
You see…Gonzaga isn’t thought of as a “real” threat to go the distance because they play such a weak regular season schedule. The West Coast Conference is pretty pathetic these days. Nobody there is capable of scaring Gonzaga any more. I, myself, thought that St. Mary’s would give them a game this past Saturday night. That was an ideal scheduling spot for a home dog that’s going to get there about 7 times in 10 in college sports (basketball and football). Didn’t matter to Gonzaga. They won by 10 as a 4-point favorite. Their other annual danger spot on the schedule, at BYU, also ended with a 10-point win (pushing a 10-point line in Provo).
Not being battle-tested is a real issue, and could ultimately bite Gonzaga in the brackets. That being said…they do have some quality non-conference wins over teams who turned out to be pretty good…
Gonzaga (-3.5) beat Florida 77-72
Gonzaga (-4) beat Iowa State 73-71 (one of only four non-covers this season)
Gonzaga (-4.5) beat Arizona 69-62
Gonzaga (-8) won at Tennessee 86-76 (on the same floor where Kentucky lost!)
Certainly those first three victims on the list will be positioned to make headlines in March (all three meetings were on neutral floors, which is good “tourney practice.” Gonzaga looks to be peaking of late…meaning they’re going to legitimately be on the short list of true championship hopefuls. They don’t look like a pretender about to be exposed. Too much talent!
And, what I’m starting to like best about this team is the chip on their shoulder. They keep taking the floor as a team that’s furious about not getting respect. They had to be very angry that they were only ranked by the selection committee as the fourth best top seed. They’ve won all their games. The computers have them #1 in the nation. Why would Gonzaga be a “borderline” #1 seed amidst teams that keep stubbing their toes?
The ultimate sign of national (and regional) disrespect can be seen in the Las Vegas pointspreads. I mentioned a second ago that Gonzaga has only failed to cover four times. They’re a stunning 18-4 against the spread! THAT SHOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE AT THIS LEVEL! But, oddsmakers and the Wise Guys keep underestimating what this team is capable of (as they did with the New England Patriots in the NFL this season). The Gonzaga players sure played like a team Saturday night that knew what the pointspread was and wanted to send a message. Any team that’s consistently better than expectations like that is positioned to embarrass teams who don’t respect them.
Think about that ATS record for a second. A mark like 8-4 is great. A 12-4 record is 75%. Gonzaga is six covers better than that!
The rest of the schedule looks like a piece of cake (or a bunch of cupcakes)…
*Three of the four regular season games remaining will be at home
*Gonzaga will be double digit favorites in all four outings
*Gonzaga will be a prohibitive favorite to sweep through the West Coast tournament (which will be played at the Orleans Arena here in Las Vegas!)
Sure, Gonzaga could have a brain fart and fall somewhere along the way. But, even a one-loss Gonzaga team is probably now a lock for a #1 Dance seed because the other contenders are likely to lose at least once along the way too. Frankly, there’s NO WAY that FOUR other major powers will run the table through their tougher conferences. Gonzaga is extremely likely to be a #1 seed in the West Regional, allowing them a relatively friendly travel schedule through the first two weekends.
As a handicapper, I’m confident that I know what I need to know regarding this Gonzaga team. I won’t pay much attention to their remaining action because “they are what they are” on both sides of the floor. My determination about whether Gonzaga can SHOCK THE NATION this postseason will ultimately be based on how their tournament opponents stack up. This team has the right mindset to keep exceeding expectations. What type of opponent will be their Kryptonite?
Gonzaga and WAYNE ALLYN ROOT both love to beat the market. I’m the only man in the handicapping industry with a star on the “Walk of Fame” here in Las Vegas. I have my eye on several major sports betting possibilities this week and beyond as the regular season schedule starts to wind down. You can always purchase my BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155. Get locked in right now at a great rate that will carry you all the way through the college tournaments or the NBA Playoffs.
I’ll see you again later this week to talk more basketball. There are so many important stories developing across the landscape. I’ll touch on as many of them as I can on these pages. If you’re just now getting up to speed in basketball now that football is done for the season…it’s time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!