Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Saint Joseph's Hawks - 11/19/14 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Saint Joseph's Hawks (1-1) at Gonzaga Bulldogs (2-0)
College Basketball: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 11:00 pm (McCarthey Athletic Center)
The Line: Gonzaga Bulldogs -19.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks travel to Gonzaga to play the Bulldogs on Wednesday night.
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks improved to 1-1 on the year after beating Drexel 52-49 on Monday night. The Hawks lost their season opener at home to Fairleigh Dickinson by 1-point. Saint Joseph’s was squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble last season after losing their final two regular season games, but the Hawks rebounded and went on to win the A-10 Tournament title, securing an NCAA Tournament bid. That Saint Joseph’s team relied on their starters to play a lot of minutes and, as a result, this year’s team is quite inexperienced, as three key players depart. Coach Phil Martelli has a challenge this season, as he must find replacements for those players, but there is plenty of talent on the roster to fill those spots. Saint Joseph’s has two players who are eligible to play after sitting out last season and four incoming freshmen recruits who will join the team for 2014-2015. Headlining the newcomers will be West Virginia transfer Aaron Brown. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 4.2 points per game at WVU as a freshman in 2012, but saw his numbers drop as a sophomore before transferring. He will be joined by 6-foot-9 forward Jai Williams, a local product who redshirted in his first season on campus.
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Gonzaga is 2-0 after blowing out Sacramento State and SMU in their first two games of the season. Last season Gonzaga did not always look like Gonzaga. There were some tough road losses and surprisingly close home wins. The team did beat Oklahoma State in their NCAA Tournament opener as an eight seed before falling to top-seeded Arizona 84-61 in the Round of 32. Gonzaga will build around their three returning starters; Gary Bell Jr., Kevin Pangos and Przemek Karnowski. Bell missed some action last season with a broken hand and had knee surgery during the offseason. He will need to stay healthy to team up with Pangos to form a potent backcourt duo. Bell knocked down 42.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc last season and is an absolutely amazing scorer at times. Pangos was a little beat up last season too, although he did not miss any games. But it certainly hindered his production. On the year he averaged 14.4 points and 3.6 assists per game, but those numbers took a dip as the season progressed. But now Pangos is back on the ball and that is where he plays his best. Karnowski is the experienced interior presence. The 7-1 center really stepped up during his sophomore season and averaged 10.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. His defense got much better in 2013-2014 and he did a relatively decent job staying out of foul trouble despite playing over 25 minutes per game.
Saint Joseph’s is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games against the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against the Atlantic 10. The over is 7-3 in Saint Joseph’s last 10 road games.
Gonzaga won the last meeting against Saint Joseph’s but that was back in 2007. I think the Hawks have lost too much and they will have to work hard to be better as the year goes on. Gonzaga looks good early, as they should, with such a talented team. I think Gonzaga wins and wins big on Wednesday night.