The semifinal of the Phil Knight Invitational will see Gonzaga and Purdue meet on Friday night.
The Zags' won their opening game of the tournament with ease against Portland State. They put up an incredible 55-point first half en route to a 102-78 win. Purdue's matchup was a much tougher test drawing West Virginia, but it still resulted in a fairly straightforward win. The Boilermakers took care of business with a solid first half on the backs of 24 points from Zach Edey.
What's the best bet for this intriguing matchup? Find out in our college basketball picks and predictions for Gonzaga vs. Purdue.
Gonzaga vs Purdue best odds
Gonzaga vs Purdue picks and predictions
A significant story of this matchup is Zach Edey vs. Drew Timme. Both are regarded as two of the best big men in college basketball, and they each returned to college for another season after receiving input from the NBA Draft.
Although this matchup could end up in a wash because neither can defend one another, Gonzaga has several mismatches at different places on the floor, and that's why I'm backing the Bulldogs to cover as my best bet.
The book has been out on Matt Painter and Purdue for the last few years. Attack them in the pick-and-roll situations, and you'll have a ton of success. Gonzaga is going to do that.
You could argue their guard quality is down compared to years past, but it's still good enough to attack this flaw. Its pick-and-roll offense ranks in the Top 15% of basketball with 0.94 points per possession, just as it has so often under Mark Few.
Rasir Bolton is critical here as he is one of the better driving scorers on this Gonzaga team. The good thing is he's elevated his game over the last week. He dropped a season-high 24 points against Kentucky and followed it up last night with 14 points in a blow-out.
I said the book had been out on Painter for a few years, and the numbers back that up. They finished last season ranking in the bottom 15% of basketball defending pick-and-roll sets. Attacking Zach Edey in these spots was the usual move, and nothing has changed.
On the other end of the court, Gonzaga will try to speed this game up to run Edey off the floor. He's a highly effective halfcourt offensive player, but his height doesn't exactly move well in transition. Anybody that's watched Gonzaga with any regularity over the last few seasons knows how the Bulldogs thrive in transition. They also know how much success the Zags usually have when imposing this style on opponents. I see a scenario like that unfolding tonight.
Due to Edey's effectiveness in the halfcourt, Purdue will stick around for a while. Drew Timme doesn't regularly play against size like he is, and there's no scenario I can envision him slowing down too often. However, as the game rolls on, Gonzaga will win the war of attrition. Its up-tempo offense will eventually wear out Edey, and once that happens, Purdue won't be able to find regular scoring.
When you can't score against Gonzaga on offense, things get ugly real quick.
My best bet: Gonzaga -6.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
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Gonzaga vs Purdue spread analysis
I feel good about backing the Zags' here. This spread started the day at 5.5 points, and throughout the writing of this article, it went up a whole point. Also, according to our Covers Consensus page, Gonzaga was attracting 65% of the bets, which signals that this may rise even more.
Purdue simply can't match Gonzaga's scoring punch. The Boilermakers will pull away when this game starts to go how Gonzaga wants it. Edey's strength is in the halfcourt, and Gonzaga will force him into a transition game.
Even when teams beat Gonzaga, they do it playing the style the Zags want to play. This team has yet to play a game with less than 70 possessions this season — even when it was destroyed against Texas. I don't see that changing today, and consequently don't see Purdue keeping up.
Gonzaga vs Purdue Over/Under analysis
The Over is the way to go if you're playing this game, but I'll likely stay away. Both teams have significant offensive advantages, even if one has more valuable advantages than the other.
The Over is 5-1 in Gonzaga's last six games, a large part due to what I previously talked about. The Bulldogs are regularly able to impose their style of play on opposing teams, and when that happens, you're expecting more possessions with scoring. On the reverse end, Purdue games have recently had a heavy trend of going Under. In fact, the Under is 4-1 in the team's last five games.
Again, that's mostly because the Boilermakers have played against opponents that have allowed them to control the game in the halfcourt and let their bigs work. I expect them to refrain from controlling the flow of this game and Gonzaga to play it at its chosen pace.
There may be a "feeling out" process early for these two teams. That may allow for some live Over betting. If I get a slow start game, I'll jump in on the total, but if not, I won't have a side for this game.
Gonzaga vs Purdue betting trend to know
The Boilermakers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS win. Find more College basketball betting trends for Gonzaga vs. Purdue.
Gonzaga vs Purdue game info
|Location:||Moda Center, Portland, OR|
|Date:||Friday, November 25, 2022|
|Tip-off:||11:30 p.m. ET|