West Region Elite Eight Free Pick

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D.S. Williamson

March 29th, 2019

NCAA Tournament West Region Elite Eight

The Texas Tech Red Raiders dominated Michigan in their Sweet 16 matchup to set up an Elite Eight battle with the top squad in the West Region, the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Both teams bring excellent defense to this March Madness party on Saturday. Which squad comes out on top and heads to the Final Four?

When: Saturday, March 30 Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA, 6:09pm ET Spread, O/U: Gonzaga -4 (137)

Can Red Raiders Defense Stifle the Zags?

It’s unreal how good Texas Tech’s defense has been in the NCAA Tournament. No team has scored more than 58 points in 3 Red Raiders wins. They pummeled first-round opponent Northern Kentucky 72-57, but that’s nothing compared to what they did to Buffalo and Michigan.

The Bulls tried to use a run-and-gun style to put the Red Raiders on their heels. All Texas Tech did was dominate 78-58. Buffalo’s NCAA Tournament ended with a whimper after entering the tournament having won 13 straight.

Versus Michigan, the Red Raiders were supposed to lose. Texas Tech entered the match a 2-point dog. They put a 63-44 beating on Michigan. The Wolverines tried to speed the game up in the second half, but Tech adjusted, outscoring Michigan 39-28.

That flexibility gives Texas Tech a huge chance on Saturday. The Red Raiders can play fast or slow while not sacrificing the awesome defensive play.

Gonzaga Looks to Continue Their Impressive Run

Heading into the Big Dance, sometimes, a loss is just what an elite team needs. That appears to be the case with the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who dropped a game in the West Coast Conference Tournament to St. Mary’s. The loss was so bad, 47-60, that many NCAA Tournament handicappers wrote off the Zags. Some said they shouldn’t have gotten a No. 1 seed.

The Bulldogs have proved all the naysayers wrong. Gonzaga destroyed Fairleigh-Dickinson 87-49, dominated Baylor 83-71, and took apart one of the best ACC teams in the tournament, Florida State, 72-58.

Gonzaga’s ability to play defense on Texas Tech’s level might give them an edge in this. Like the Red Raiders, the Zags can play a slow-down game as well as run and gun it. It also helps that coach Mark Few is one of the best in the nation.

Red Raiders vs. Bulldogs Betting Analysis and Pick

All the hot trends point to the Red Raiders covering. Texas Tech is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600, 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games versus a team with a winning straight-up record, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall, and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS win.

Although Texas Tech looks like a lock against the spread, why stop there? The Red Raiders will offer excellent odds to beat Gonzaga straight up on March 30. Texas Tech should do that because even though the score says Gonzaga dominated Florida State, they really didn’t.

Twice, the Zags allowed the Seminoles to get back into the game after building a 9-point lead. Texas Tech grinds you into the ground. Before you know it, you’re down 6. Once you’re down 6, the game’s over because their stifling defense takes charge.

It also helps the Red Raiders that in most games, like this one on Saturday, Tech’s got the best player on the court in Jarrett Culver. This is a bad matchup for the Zags. Texas Tech wins straight up, cuts down the nets, and heads to the Final Four.

West Region Elite Eight Free Pick: Texas Tech moneyline

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