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Gonzaga (-13.5) vs. Creighton
The No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs take on No. 5 Creighton Blue Jays to advance to the Elite 8. Gonzaga remains undefeated and has witnessed one team lose within single-digits to them all season (West Virginia). Creighton is tagged as a +13-point underdog today, but I take a look at a player prop on the Blue Jays sideline.
Here is a look at how Gonzaga has fared in its last six games versus opposing squads, dating back to Feb. 25, right as March started to ramp up. Loyola-Marymount and Santa Clara were the final regular-season games before the West Coast Conference and NCAA Tournament began.
Gonzaga last six games
Oklahoma: Austin Reaves scored 27 and Alondes Williams scored 15.
Norfolk State: Two leading scores hit 12 apiece.
BYU: Trevin Knell scored 20 and four starters scored 11-15 points.
Saint Mary: The Gaels had two scorers reach 13 and 15.
Loyola Marymount: LMU had Eli Scott (20) and Mattias Markusson (19) go Over 16.5.
Santa Clara: Sant Clara recorded four starters score 11-19 with two scoring 18 and 19.
Gonzaga versus Leading Scorers
Oklahoma's Austin Reaves (18.3): 27 points on 11/17 FG, 1/4 3PT, 4/4 FT
Norfolk State's Devante Carter (14.9): 12 points on 4/17 FG, 0/4 3PT, 4/5 FT
BYU's Alex Barcello (16.1): 15 points on 6/15 FG, 2/6 3PT, 1/1 FT
Saint Mary's Logan Johnson (13.3): 15 points on 4/17 FG, 0/4 3PT, 7/9 FT
Loyola Marymount's Eli Scott (18.0): 20 points on 9/17 FG, 0/1 3PT, 2/4 FT
Santa Clara's Josip Vrankic (15.2): 14 points on 6/17 FG, 0/4 3PT, 2/4 FT
Season average of PPG in parenthesis*
In those six games, Gonzaga allowed the opposing team's leading scorer to go over their season average in three-of-six games. All of the leading scorers attempted at least 15 field goal attempts and five of the six post four or more three-point and free-throw attempts. All of them finished at least within three points of their season average if they went under.
Six players scored 17 or more in the last six games versus Gonzaga. Fitting for Creighton's Marcus Zegarowski.
Zegarowski has scored at least 14 points in 17-of-28 games. Lately, Zegarowski has scored 17 or more points and made three or more triples in five of the last six games. When he attempts 15 shots, Zegarowski has averaged 17.5 points per game (four games), but scored 20 (Ohio) and 25 (Villanova) in his last two hitting that mark.
The Blue Jays' leading scorer (15.7 PPG) has taken over the offense and continues to lead the team in usage rate (23.2%), assist to turnover ratio (24.3%) and second in offensive rating (114.9). In comparison, his offensive rating would be sixth on Gonzaga.
While that can be viewed as knock on Zegarowski, his usage rate would be third on the Zags and his assist to turnover ratio would lead the Bulldogs. Zegarowski's projected to record 16.8 points, 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds versus Gonzaga. Right around what he is averaging over his last five games.
However, using the projection tool, I could set my own projections. Setting the model based on Zegarowski's last five outings and how he has performed in March, his new projections were a tad bit higher and based on 36.3 minutes I might add. Zegarowski has played 38 minutes in three of the last four contests and averaged 16.6 points in that span.
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On five neutral court games, Zegarowski averages 17.0 points per game in five contests on 57.6% from the field, 57.7% from three and 100% from the free-throw line (2/2). In March, Zegarowski is averaging 18.1 points per game on 57.1% from the field, 53.7% from three and 90% from the charity stripe (9/10).
He has scored 20 points in six games this season and 17 or more in 12 of his last 24 games (50%). When he plays 35 or minutes, Zegarowski averages 16.1 points per game and scored 17 or more points in three of his last five with 35-plus minutes.
In his last seven games playing 37 or minutes, Zegarowski scored at least 15 points in six of them, scoring 17 or more in four. He is shooting much better and at a steady rate over the last seven games. His field goal attempts have steadily risen since March began. Zegarowski has attempted double-digit shots in six of the last seven games.
I think Zegarowski could score 20-plus in this outing in what could be his last game at Creighton. I grabbed the Over 16.5 Points and would play up to 17.5. He is averaging at least 17 points reaching back across his last three, five and 10 game splits. I expect him to be around the 15-16 point mark at the worst considering how much Creighton will need Zegarowski at his best today.
Game Pick: Marcus Zegarowski Over 16.5 Points (1u) - playable at 17.5
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