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Memphis vs Gonzaga West Region Picks: Bulldogs Bully the Paint in Cover

The Bulldogs are seeing their spread against the Tigers shrink, but with injury concerns for the underdogs, we're not buying it. Find out this double-digit spread shouldn't shake the No. 1 overall seed with our Memphis vs. Gonzaga picks.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2022 5:00 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

Basketball bettors get a treat in the Round of 32, where the No. 9 Memphis Tigers tangle with the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in the West Region of March Madness on Saturday.

The Tigers held off a second-half push from Boise State to advance to the weekend and boast one of the most promising lineups in college hoops, including a handful of future NBA lottery picks. The Bulldogs got a scare from Georgia State in their opener but leaned on their size advantage to avoid the upset.

Check out our free March Madness picks and predictions for Memphis vs. Gonzaga on March 19.

Memphis vs Gonzaga odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

March Madness odds opened Gonzaga as an 11.5-point favorite but has since slimmed to as low as -10 with play on Memphis. The total opened at 153 points and has jumped to 155 with early action on the Over.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Memphis vs Gonzaga predictions

Predictions made on 3/18/2022 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Memphis vs Gonzaga game info

Location: Moda Center, Portland, OR
Date: Saturday, March 19, 2022
Tip-off: 1:00 p.m. ET

Memphis vs Gonzaga betting preview


Memphis: Alex Lomax G (Probable).
Gonzaga: None.
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 7-3 in Bulldogs’ last 10 games as favorites. Find more NCAA betting trends for Memphis vs. Gonzaga.

Memphis vs Gonzaga picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

Saturday night’s showdown is a duel between college basketball’s present and college basketball’s future — if Penny Hardaway can convince his freshmen stars to stick around for another year. 

The matchup everyone is waiting for comes on the blocks, where first-year standouts Jalen Duren and Chet Holmgren battle under the basket. However, it could be the guard play that decides what should be a very fun game — if that Over/Under total sets the stage. 

Memphis got a fright when point guard Alex Lomax rolled his ankle in the win over Boise State, but Lomax battled through and put on a gutsy performance in the second half. That said, ankle injuries are often worse the following days and the Tigers don’t have another true point guard on this roster if Lomax is slowed by that bum wheel.

The Zags’ backcourt is big, deep and experienced, and will go after the smaller Lomax if they smell blood in the water. While the Bulldogs guards didn’t have to do much versus Georgia State in the second half — as Holmgren and Drew Timme took over — guys like Andrew Nembhard, Rasir Bolton, and Julian Strawther will play a much bigger role against a Memphis team that loves to push tempo and attack the rim in transition.

The Tigers had some costly miscues in the second half of Thursday’s opener and ended up coughing the ball over 15 times, which helped fuel a rally from BSU that nearly cost Memphis the game. That’s a common theme for this young team, ranked 353rd in turnovers in the country (16.3). Unlike Boise State, Gonzaga is right at home running up and down the court and will turn and burn with transition offense of their own when Memphis makes those mistakes.

This one could be close for the first half, but the Zags guards will eventually break the Tigers backcourt and remind everyone why they’re the No. 1 overall seed.

Prediction: Gonzaga -10 (-115)

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Over/Under analysis

The Zags’ defense in the first half versus Georgia State was befuddling, as the Panthers continued to crack the Bulldogs’ towering interior and out-worked Gonzaga on the glass: two aspects Mark Few will harp on entering this matchup with a very active Memphis attack. 

The Tigers are reliant on putbacks off offensive rebounds, ranked No. 11 in offensive rebounds per game and No. 5 in offensive rebound rate (36%). The Bulldogs, however, are the biggest team the Tigers have tangled with this season and don’t normally allow much on the defensive glass, hauling in more than 30 defensive rebounds per game — tops in the land.

Perhaps the best way to slow the Tigers’ tempo is to attack the Memphis interior of Duren and 6-foot-9 forward Deandre Williams. If the Bulldogs can bully their way inside and suck those bigs into foul trouble, that has the Tigers starting possessions off inbounds plays — or at least on short rebounds close to the rim and not longer boards that fuel transition attacks.

Memphis is no slouch on defense, ranked 26th in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Tigers have limited their three postseason foes to an effective field goal rate of just 43.6% and leaned into defense to get them here, allowing just one of their last eight foes to score 70 or more points.

The pace and surplus of talent on both teams has this total ticking upward, but turnovers from the Tigers and an inside assault from the Zags will drag this final score Under that inflated number. 

Prediction: Under 155 (-110)

Best bet

As mentioned, coach Few will be pushing for a stronger start by the Bulldogs, with emphasis on defense and keeping the Tigers off the glass. On the season, Gonzaga allows just Under 31 points per game in the opening 20 minutes and ranks No. 1 in 1H offense (43.5 1H ppg).

However, Memphis’ calling card in recent outings has been stingy defense to start the game. The Tigers, who average only 30.5 points allowed per first half on the year, have tightened the bolts to 26 1H points allowed over their last seven showings.

Gonzaga will attack on both ends of the floor in the opening minutes, testing the Memphis interior with more post-up play while also challenging Lomax’s mobility with full-court pressure on defense. The Tigers will likely try the same approach on offense, kicking the tires on the Duren-versus- Holmgren matchup.

Tempo could take over in the second half, especially if we get bigs in foul trouble and teams have to run smaller. But the opening minutes of this Round of 32 contest will very much be a feeling out process, staying below the 1H O/U of 73.5 points.

Pick: First half Under 73.5 (-115)

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