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NCAAB-March Madness – Elite Eight saturday game preview

West Region Final (Anaheim, CA)
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (TBS, 6:09 PM EST)

Opening Odds: Gonzaga -4½, 137

— Texas Tech (29-6 SU, 18-16 ATS) registered a 63-44 victory against Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen to advance to the Elite Eight. A No. 1 seed stands in the way of their first-ever trip to a Final Four for the Red Raiders.

— The Red Raiders have won each of their three NCAA Tournament games by at least 15 points, winning by an average of 18.0 points per game (PPG). The Red Raiders are 3-0 against the spread with the ‘under’ 3-0 in their three games so far during the Big Dance.

— Jarrett Culver continues to improve his NBA draft stock, as he dropped 22 points on 9-for-19 shooting across 32 minutes in the victory against the Wolverines. He misfired on all five of his 3-pointer attempts, but he was 4-for-4 at the charity stripe while adding four rebounds, three steals and just one turnover. Culver is averaging 22.3 PPG, 5.3 assists per game (APG) and 7.3 rebounds per game (RPG) through his three tournament games.

— The Red Raiders benefited by the fact the Wolverines went 1-for-19 (5.3 percent) from downtown, but the Texas Tech defense obviously had a lot to do with that poor shooting. They also finished 16-for-49 (32.7 percent) from the field, as the Red Raiders were relentless on the defensive end.

Texas Tech ended up shooting 43.6 percent (24-for-55) from the field, including 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) from behind the perimeter while being outrebounded 33-27. The Red Raiders took decent care of the basketball, however, turning it over just seven total times to 14 for Michigan.

— The Red Raiders roll into this one 6-1 ATS over the past seven outings, and they’re 5-1 ATS in the past six NCAA Tournament games. They’re also 10-1 ATS in the past 11 against teams with a winning overall record.

— The ‘under’ has cashed in four straight NCAA Touranemnt games, and the under is 19-7 in the past 26 neutral-site battles while going 46-21-1 in the past 68 non-conference battles.

— Gonzaga (33-3 SU, 23-13 ATS) dropped Florida State by a 14-point margin in the third round, and they have won each of their first three NCAA Tournament games by 12 or more points. Expect the Bulldogs to get a much better test from the defensive-minded Red Raiders.

— The Bulldogs saw Brandon Clarke posted a double-double, as he registered 15 points with 12 rebounds, two assists and a steal with five blocked shots across 34 minutes on 6-for-15 shooting. The Zags had balanced scoring, as Rui Hachimura had 17 points, Zach Norvell Jr. had 14 points and Josh Perkins ended up with 14 points. Norvell Jr. led the way with four of the team’s seven triples against the Seminoles.

— Clarke has been a blocked shots machine in the NCAA Tournament, registered 13 swats through three games, and he has at least one blocked shot in 16 consecutive games since Jan. 19 in a lopsided win at Portland.

— Gonzaga ended up No. 1 in the nation with 88.2 points per game, and they also led the country with a 52.8 field-goal percentage, and they’re a good free-throw shooting team, too. Often overlooked is their defense, as they ranked sixth in opponent field-goal percentage at 38.7, and they were a solid 18th in 3-pointer percentage defense.

— The Bulldogs, one of three remaining No. 1 seeds after UNC got the gate on Friday, have covered in six of their past seven non-conference games. They’re also 9-4-1 ATS in the past 14 games against Big 12 foes.

— Gonzaga has cashed the under in six of their past seven non-conference tilts, while the under is 5-2 in the past seven NCAA Tournament battles. The under is also 11-5 in the past 16 following a cover in their previous outing.

— These teams last met on Nov. 23, 2007, with Gonzaga falling 73-63.

West Region Final (Louisville, KY)
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 1 Virginia (TBS, 8:49 PM EST)

Opening Odds: Virginia -4½, 126

— Purdue (26-9 SU, 20-14 ATS) bumped off the No. 2 seed Tennessee in an overtime thriller, 99-94, as Carsen Edwards continues to roll up big numbers. He went for 29 points, four rebounds, three assists and just one turnover with five 3-pointers, as his solid NCAA Tournament continues. He has scored at least 26 points in each of his three NCAA Tournament games after a disappointing loss in the first game of their Big Ten Tournament against Minnesota. He is also averaging 5.7 RPG during the tourney.

— The Boilermakers weren’t a one-man band against the Vols, however. Ryam Cline went for 27 points, four assists and seven 3-pointers with a steal before fouling out in 29 minutes. Nojel Eastern and Matt Haarms each contributed 11 points, and Haarms was a defensive force with three blocked shots.

— Purdue was huge by hitting 15-of-31 shots from behind the arc, good for a 48.4 percent mark from downtown. And they barely won in overtime, as Tennessee was also 12-for-24 from down deep.

— The Boilermakers have cashed in four of the past five outings, and they’re 9-4 ATS in their past 13 NCAA Tournament battles while going 41-19 over the past 60 non-conference battles.

— The over is 5-2 in the past seven games for Purdue, while going 40-17-1 in the past 58 neutral-site affairs. The over is also 5-0 in their past five following a straight-up win and 5-0 in their past five following a cover, too. The under is 13-6 in the past 19 against ACC foes, however.

— Virginia (32-3 SU, 24-11 ATS) is doing what they do best in the NCAA Tournament, locking it down on defense. They have averaged just 62.3 PPG through their three games in the Big Dance. They’re still thriving, winning by an average of 10.3 PPG, holding the opposition to 52.0 PPG.

— In a defensive battle with a score reminiscent of the pre-shot clock era, UVA scratched out a 53-49 win against No. 11 Oregon on Thursday. Kyle Guy’s shooting woes continued, as he was just 4-for-15 from the field, and 2-for-11 from behind the 3-point line, while ending up with 10 points and four rebounds in his 39 minutes. He is averaging just 7.3 PPG with 5.0 RPG so far in the Big Dance.

— There were a lot of ugly offensive numbers on Thursday, as UVA hit just 20-of-56 from the field (35.7 percent), yet they still won. All five starters missed more shots than they took, and only five players even attempted a shot. Mamadi Diakite was a defensive force, pulling down 11 rebounds with two steals and two blocked shots to lead the way.

— The Cavaliers check in 44-20-1 ATS in the past 65 games, and 4-1 ATS in their past five against the Big Ten. The Hoos are also 17-7 ATS in the past 24 against non-conference opponents. However, UVA is 1-6 ATS in the past seven NCAA Tournament battles.

— The under is 4-1 in the past five for Virginia, while going 4-1 in their past five NCAA Tournament games, too. The under is 5-1 in the past six neutral-site contests, while cashing in seven of the past eight non-conference tilts. The under is also 8-3 in the past 11 battles for Virginia against the Big Ten conference.

— This is the first meeting between these schools since Nov. 29, 2006 when the Boilermakers scratched out a 61-59 victory.


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