Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#663 Portland State vs.
#664 Gonzaga
Thursday, November 24, 2022 at 11:59pm EST
Written by Mark Ruelle

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In the final game of the first round of the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament, Portland State takes on 6th ranked Gonzaga. Portland State, out of the Big Sky Conference, comes in at 2-2 and fresh off an upset win over Oregon State. Gonzaga, out of the WCC, avoided a two-game losing streak after dismantling the #4 Kentucky Wildcats at home on Sunday. The opening tap for this matchup is scheduled for 9:30pm EST.

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Coming in Hot

The Portland State Vikings come into this tournament off a high after evening their record to 2-2 on the season with an upset road win over Power-Five conference team, Oregon State on Thursday. After an 0-16 stretch against Oregon State, the Vikings finally got over the hump with a 79-66 win over the Beavers. Jorell Saterfield led the way with a career-high 26 points as the Vikings shot 46% on the night and hit 35% from long range. They won the turnover battle, committing 14 while forcing 18 in the game. Portland State also shot 90% from the free throw line as they did all the little things to end their 16-game losing streak to the Beavers.

"This team is mentally tough. We know there's going to be highs and lows within a game. It's good for us to be tested early with highs and lows and be able to still fight through adversity and play at a high level, and that's what we did tonight," Portland State head coach Jase Coburn said of his team's win over the Beavers.

Portland State by the numbers thus far includes a team averaging nearly 92 points per game through their first four games and averaging a +18 scoring differential. They are shooting 44% overall and 31% from the 3pt stripe. Defensively, the Vikings are holding the opposition to just 36% shooting overall and 32% from 3pt range. One thing that may become an issue will be the fact that the Vikings are allowing the opposition to take nearly 12 more free throw attempts than they take per game. Gonzaga's inside game could give them trouble. The Vikings are averaging +5.7 more rebounds per game than the opposition. Lastly, in the turnover department, Portland State holds a +7.3 turnover differential on the season.

 

Bouncing Back

The Gonzaga Bulldogs hung tightly to their perennial grip on a Top-Ten spot in the College Basketball Top-25 on Sunday by taking down #4 Kentucky, 88-72. After squeaking by Michigan State after losing for much of the game and then losing by double digits at Texas, the Bulldogs found their groove again at home against the Wildcats. Rasir Bolton scored 24 points, Drew Timme had 22 points and Julian Strawther had a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the much-needed win coming off its biggest margin of defeat since 2014 at Texas.

"You were hoping that's how your team responds after a disappointing loss," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "It was really, really big."

The Zags are scoring 82.5 points per game and own a +9.8 average point differential but that includes three top-tier opponents out of their first four games. They once again have one of the most highly efficient offenses in college basketball, shooting the ball 54% overall and 37% from 3pt range. Defensively, the Zags are allowing 72.8 points per game, just 42% shooting overall and 29% from long range. They hold a +8.5 rebounding advantage per game thus far but have struggled with turnovers, averaging 17.5 per game, giving them a -2.8 turnover differential per game. Gonzaga is averaging 3.5 blocks per game.

 

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Portland State will not make it two straight upsets in this matchup against the Zags. Gonzaga continues to do a great job of getting the shots they want and working the ball inside to their strength, which will be a problem for a Portland State team that is allowing a ton of free throws to the opposition this season. Gonzaga has to be wary of turnovers but they have also upped their turnover totals against three of the best teams in the country. While the Vikings can force turnovers, they are not in the category of those three teams. Gonzaga will exert their will in this game, which is close enough to be a home game that they won't be facing a hostile crowd in this one. Look for the Zags to do what they do best; shoot the ball at a high rate, protect the paint and execute.

Take Gonzaga.

Prediction: Gonzaga -28.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Portland State moves at the 22nd fastest pace in the country and will try to create turnovers and get easy baskets. To some degree, Gonzaga will comply with that given the number of turnovers that they have had thus far this season. More importantly to the total, however, Gonzaga will shoot the ball over 50% and dominate the paint in this game. The Zags are a 76% free throw shooting team and you will see a lot of that in this game. The over/under for Timme free throws should be 12 and I'd take the over. This will be a fun, entertaining game that will feature quality shot-making, mainly on the Zags side.

Take the over.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.