Alabama and Gonzaga both made respectable runs through their schedule last season, ending in nice performances in the NCAA Tournament. But both teams were disappointed in the way their seasons ended, and they will look for better results this year. To build the foundation for a potential NCAA Tournament run, both teams will aim to put together a strong performance to win this Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs matchup.
This game will be played in Seattle, rather than Gonzaga’s typical home of Spokane, as a bigger arena will be used to accommodate this top-20 matchup. But there is still expected to be a massive fan presence in favor of Gonzaga here, as they are still a reasonable distance from their typical home. Whether or not Alabama can overcome that and pick up a win in a hostile environment remains to be seen.
Alabama Crimson Tide – Facing A Big Challenge
The Alabama Crimson Tide comes into this game with a 6-1 record, with their lone loss on the season coming at a neutral site against the Iona Gaels. Alabama is coming off of a blowout win over the Miami Hurricanes, as Alabama picked up a 32-point win over Miami in that matchup between power conference foes. Here, the Tide are in for their toughest challenge of the season so far, especially for their interior defense.
Alabama will have to defend both Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren at the same time, which has proven to be too much for most opponents of Gonzaga to handle so far this season. While Holmgren clearly is not yet big enough to dominate in the paint, his skills on the ball and ability to step out and play from the perimeter make him a tough cover as a big nonetheless. Not many teams are equipped to guard both Bulldog bigs, and the Crimson Tide are no exception to that rule.
Expected Line-Up: Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Shackleford, Keon Ellis, Charles Bediako, Juwan Gary
with best odds
Gonzaga Bulldogs – Hoping To Get Right
Gonzaga has not looked convincing in either of their last two games, losing to Duke before barely getting by in a win against Tarleton State. Here, they will look to get back on track and use their significant advantage on the inside to beat Alabama. But the defense of the Bulldogs will need to step up here, against an Alabama team that has shown that it can score with the best teams in the country over the last year and change.
Alabama has averaged over 85 points per game, just as Gonzaga has on the offensive end. Against Duke, Gonzaga struggled with defending the mid-range and allowed more transition buckets than they would have liked. They will have to fortify those areas against the Crimson Tide to avoid being subject to another upset bid in Seattle on Saturday night.
Expected Line-Up: Andrew Nembhard, Rasir Bolton, Julian Strawther, Chet Holmgren, Drew Timme
Expert Pick #1 – Gonzaga -9.5 @ -110
The first bet to place on this game is Gonzaga -9.5 at -110 odds. Gonzaga had some hiccups over the last week, but they are still vastly more talented than the Crimson Tide, along with just about every other team in college basketball. This line would be much higher had Gonzaga not just had two bad games in a row by their standards, and the Bulldogs will come out strong here in front of a partisan crowd in Seattle.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 161.5 @ -120
The next bet to place in this contest is the under 161.5 at -120 odds. Gonzaga should be able to separate themselves enough to win by double figures here, but it will come at the expense of the Alabama offense. The Crimson Tide, much like their football team in the SEC championship game against Georgia on Saturday, will struggle to get on the board regularly enough to challenge the total in this contest.
Expert Pick #3 – Gonzaga Under 85.5 Points @ -115
Another bet to place here is Gonzaga under 85.5 points at -115 odds. If Gonzaga wins big here, they won’t need to keep their foot on the gas pedal for all 40 minutes. And against a team that will have to dig in defensively to have any chance in this game, Gonzaga should score closer to the mid to high 70s than into the high 80s. Their team total under is a good play here, even if they should win by a lot.
It will be interesting to see how Alabama comes out and approaches this game against Gonzaga. They will need to be more aggressive than usual to try and slow down one of the best programs in the sport, but they might not have that in them when all is said and done. Lay the points with Gonzaga here, as they will be much more successful running their normal style of play.