Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#719 Gonzaga -8 vs.
#720 Texas A&M 143
Friday, November 15, 2019 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#719 Gonzaga University
#720 Texas A&M University
3-0
2-0
23-14
15-16-1
18-19
11-20-1
87
70
64
71

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The Gonzaga Bulldogs will head on the road to Reed Arena in College Station, Texas on Friday evening for a tough non-conference clash against the Texas A&M Aggies.

The Buzz Williams-era has gotten off to a strong start at Texas A&M, as the Aggies have won each of their first two games of the season. Friday’s game will represent the Aggies’ toughest game of the non-conference season and also their first chance at a quality win. For Gonzaga, it is the first of four Tier-A games on the non-conference slate. Can the Aggies pull off the upset at home at Reed Arena against the Bulldogs on Friday?

Petrusev double-doubles in Zags' win

Gonzaga toppled North Dakota 97-66 on Tuesday night behind another balanced scoring effort. Filip Petrusev scored a team-high 19 points and 15 rebounds while junior Corey Kispert finished with 20 points to lead six Bulldogs players in double-figures on the night. The Bulldogs outrebounded North Dakota 53 to 29 and held them to just 7-for-31 from beyond the arc in the win.

Three games into the season and it seems Mark Few might have one of his most talented Gonzaga teams yet. The Zags enter this matchup slotted at No. 7 in the latest KenPom rankings after three straight blowout victories. They come in scoring 112.5 points per 100 possessions (3rd in the NCAA) while sporting the second-best effective field goal percentage in the nation at 66.1 percent. Gonzaga ranks in the top-5 in nearly every major offensive category. They have turned the ball over only 13.7 percent of the time on the offensive end (27th in the NCAA) while shooting 66.1 percent from inside the arc (4th in the NCAA) and 44.1 percent from 3-point range (30th in the NCAA).

On defense, the Bulldogs have held their opponents to just 89.2 points per 100 possessions (30th in the NCAA). They’ve also done a tremendous job cleaning up the defensive glass, as opposing teams have hauled in just 17 percent of their missed field goal attempts (13th in the NCAA) versus the Bulldogs’ defense.

Buzz Williams gets first chance for marquee win at Texas A&M

The Aggies won their second straight game on Monday night, taking down Louisiana Monroe 63-57 to avoid the upset. Texas A&M struggled in the first half and trailed by as many as 10 points early in the second half before mounting a comeback, led by junior guard Jay Jay Chandler, who finished with 17 points. Andre Gordon had 14 and Quenton Jackson added 12 for the Aggies, who forced 20 turnovers and limited the Warhawks to just 8-for-28 shooting from 3-point range.

Williams’ squad enters the weekend ranked No. 66 in the latest KenPom rankings, scoring 104.0 points per 100 possessions (70th in the NCAA) through the first two games of the season. Unlike Williams’ squads at Virginia Tech, the Aggies don’t generate a lot of offense from beyond the arc. In fact, the Aggies rank near the bottom of the country, shooting just 26 percent of their total field goal attempts from 3-point range. Instead, they do most of their damage from inside the arc or at the free-throw line. They sport a healthy free throw rate of 54.5 percent but have shot a dismal 59.2 percent from the charity stripe as a team (300th in the NCAA).

On defense, Texas A&M has surrendered 92.7 points per 100 possessions (65th in the NCAA) while forcing their opponents to turn the ball over 24.3 percent of the time (44th in the NCAA). They have also limited opposing teams to just 25.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc (60th in the NCAA).

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Buzz Williams is a terrific coach but the Aggies have a long way to go to get back to contender status in the SEC and I’m not sure they have the personnel to challenge a top-tier team like Gonzaga this year. No one on the Zags wants this game more than former Aggie Admon Gilder, who is one of Gonzaga’s top 3-point shooters. That’s something that Texas A&M is sorely missing this season. Gonzaga has too much offensive firepower, especially from distance, for the Aggies to keep up in this game. Take Gzonaga to cover the spread in this non-conference showdown in College Station on Friday night.

Prediction: Gonzaga Bulldogs -6

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Gonzaga has left plenty of room for improvement on the defensive end of the floor through three games, yet they won each of those contests by at least 29 points. Texas A&M will be their biggest test of the season and will likely be able to top the season-high 66 points that they gave up to North Dakota earlier in the week. The Zags take only about 14 seconds per offensive possession, which ranks 13th in the nation, so look for this game to go over the projected total on Friday.

Prediction: Over 143
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.