Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Pick
- Updated: December 8, 2012
College Basketball Picks
Date/Time: December 8, 10:00 pm EST
College Basketball Odds from BetDSI
Point Spread: Gonzaga -11.5
NCAA Basketball Pick – December 8th
First year Coach John Groce has the Illinois Fighting Illini off to a 9-0 start. Mark Few and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are also 9-0. The Fighting Illini are ranked 14th in the nation and Gonzaga is 10th in the nation. Groce did a great job with the Ohio Bobcats last year, and he is off to a great start with Illinois. Gonzaga has a great home court advantage and this should be a huge game between two unbeaten teams.
The Illinois Fighting Illini had a really disappointing season last year. Bruce Weber was let go after the season, and the team ended up getting John Groce to come to Champaign after he led Ohio to the Sweet Sixteen last year. Groce’s style is quite a bit different than Weber’s, and it seems like the players are responding well to the change. Illinois is playing at a much faster pace this year, and the Fighting Illini seem to have better ball movement in half court sets.
Brandon Paul is still the go to guy for this team. Paul had a breakout season last year, and his numbers are even better so far this season. He is averaging almost 18 points per game. Sophomore Tracy Abrams has been a pleasant surprise so far this year, averaging 11.4 points per game. Illinois is scoring 78.7 points per game so far this year. Last season, putting points on the board was a major problem for the team. So far this season, it has been a strength.
Gonzaga seems to be very good on an annual basis, and this year’s team is excellent once again. They got their first major test of the season earlier this week in Pullman against the Washington State Cougars. Kevin Pangos had a horrible game, but he did hit the game winning shot with less than five seconds remaining. Kelly Olynyk had a career high 22 points in the 71-69 win at Washington State. Prior to that game, Gonzaga only had one contest where the score finished within ten points. Gonzaga leads the nation in field goal percentage. The Bulldogs are shooting an incredible 53.1 percent from the floor. They average 83.7 points per game.
Elias Harris is the Zags best player, and the NBA scouts really like his game. He has a terrific back to the basket game, and he is great at creating his own shot. Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr, and David Stockton give the team three very good ball handlers. The Bulldogs are also one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Ten players average at least ten minutes of playing time, so depth is a major strength for Gonzaga. This is a team that is capable of making some real noise this season.
Free Pick: Illinois +11.5
I really like this Gonzaga team, but I think this is too big of a line. The Big Ten is the best basketball conference in the nation, and the Fighting Illini are a solid team. Gonzaga should win, but look for Illinois to cover.
Gonzaga 75 Illinois 68
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