College basketball fans are in for an absolute treat in the first week of the college basketball season, as Gonzaga hosts Texas in a top-five matchup. The Bulldogs are fresh off of a loss in last year’s national championship game, while Texas is playing its first big game under new head coach Chris Beard. In a late start to cap off Saturday’s college basketball action, the Texas Longhorns vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs game will be a great early showcase for both teams.
Both of these teams picked up easy wins to tip off their 2021-2022 seasons, as they destroyed small schools in non-conference play to start things off. But both of these teams are used to playing elite competition, and should be able to handle the step up in weight class without much trouble. This game will come down to which team can execute the most effectively across all 40 minutes.
Texas Longhorns – Searching For Huge Early Win
The Texas Longhorns started their season with a blowout win over Houston Baptist, giving Chris Beard his first win as the head coach of the Longhorns. In that game, Texas shot 64%, as they faced very little resistance on their way to the victory. In this game, the Longhorns will brace themselves for a much tougher contest, as they face the number one team in the country and the betting favorites to win the national championship.
If Texas wants to steal this game in Spokane, they are going to need to win with physicality against Gonzaga. Gonzaga’s top prospect this season is Chet Holmgren, a skilled big man, who is rail thin and should be susceptible to being bullied on the interior. If Texas can bump him off of his spots and make things tough for him when he has the ball in his hands, the Longhorns could surprise a lot of people in this matchup.
Expected Line-Up: Andrew Jones, Marcus Carr, Courtney Ramey, Christian Bishop, Timmy Allen
with best odds
Gonzaga Bulldogs – Trying to Justify Early Ranking
The Gonzaga Bulldogs also had an easy opening game, beating up on Dixie State in their season opener at home. Gonzaga scored 97 points, coasting to that sky-high total while no player scored more than 17 points for them. In this game, Mark Few’s team is going to aim to avoid another disappointing result against a Big 12 team, after they lost to the Baylor Bears in last year’s national title game.
Gonzaga Is better than most of the teams that they play every year, but this game is going to be a significant test given how much talent the Bulldogs lost from last season’s team. With Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs and Joel Ayayi all moving onto the NBA from the team that went to the championship game, new stars will need to step up to avoid an early blemish on the Bulldogs’ record. All eyes will be on Chet Holmgren in this game, as this will be his first real test at the college level.
Expected Line-Up: Andrew Nembhard, Rasir Bolton, Julian Strawther, Drew Timme, Chet Holmgren
Expert Pick #1 – Gonzaga -7.5 @ -110
The first bet we are making in this game is Gonzaga -7.5 at -110 odds. Both teams lost a lot of talent from last year, but the Longhorns are adjusting to an entirely new system and coaching staff being installed. The Bulldogs still have the stability of being coached by Mark Few, and should be able to ride that continuity and their home court advantage to a convincing victory in this showcase game.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 150.5 @ -110
The next bet to lock in for this matchup is the over 150.5 at -110 odds. Both of these teams were ruthlessly efficient offensively in their first games. And while they will face a tougher opponent here, the pace that Gonzaga plays with should be a huge factor in moving this game up toward the over. Texas will have to play fast to keep up with the Zags, whose scoring pace is hard for any team to match.
Expert Pick #3 – Gonzaga First Half -5.5 @ -105
Finally, the last bet worth making in this game is Gonzaga -5.5 in the first half at -105 odds. In a hostile environment with a new coaching staff, a slow start from Texas is very possible, and Gonzaga isn’t likely to let them off the hook if they falter from the opening tip. The Zags will cover the first half en route to a cover of the full game point spread.
This could very well be a game that we see later in the year in the NCAA Tournament. But this early season showdown won’t be all that competitive. Gonzaga should gain the upper hand from the early stages and not let it go as they will move to 2-0 and cover the point spread in the process.