This Elite Eight tilt might be the most evenly matched March Madness contest of the season as the second-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs are 2-point underdogs against the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils.
A Closer Look At The Gonzaga Bulldogs Vs Duke Blue Devils Elite Eight Odds & Final Score Prediction
Matchup: (2) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs (1) Duke Blue Devils
Date: Mar. 29, 2015
Start Time: 5:05 p.m. ET
Location: Houston, Texas
Stadium: NRG Stadium
TV Info: CBS
Radio: Gonzaga Vs Duke
Point Spread: Blue Devils -2
Game Total: 145.5
Gonzaga Will Cover the 2-point Spread If
The Bulldogs can withstand the onslaught of Duke’s hot shooters.
Although Kentucky got raves for the way that it demolished West Virginia in the Sweet 16, the most impressive team during the NCAA Tournament has actually been Gonzaga. Kentucky, due to its overall #1 ranking, got a much easier path to the Elite Eight. Gonzaga had to play a decent North Dakota State squad before taking on Iowa and then putting a beat down on UCLA in the Sweet 16.
Gonzaga was terrific versus the Bruins on Friday night. They held Bryce Alford, who had been brilliant for UCLA in the first two rounds, to 8 points. Alford shot 3 out of 11 from the field and 2 out of 6 from behind the arc. As a team, UCLA shot 23.1% from three and 38.8% from the field. The Bulldogs have to be as good defensively versus Duke’s perimeter shooters. The Zags are one of the few teams in college hoops that match up well with the Blue Devils’ big man Jahlil Okafor. If they can handle Duke’s shooters, they should cover the spread.
Gonzaga Elite Eight Projected Starting lineup
- G Kevin Pangos, 6-2, Sr., 11.6 ppg, 5.0 apg
- G Gary Bell Jr., 6-1, Sr., 8.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
- F Byron Wesley, 6-4, Sr., 10.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg
- F Kyle Wiltjer, 6-10, Jr., 16.6 ppg, 5.8 rp
- C Przemek Karnowski, 7-1, Jr., 10.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg
- Coach: Mark Few (16th season)
Duke Will Cover the 2-point Spread If
The Blue Devils can handle the Zags big men.
Although Gonzaga had a terrible time adjusting to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas versus UCLA, the Zags are still a gifted offensive team. The Bulldogs shoot 52.3% from the field on average. They shoot 40.4% from the three-point line and they score close to 80 points per game.
Duke’s defense was great versus Utah. But at times, the Blue Devils allow teams to shoot way better from the field than they should. Notre Dame shot 50% against the Blue Devils’ defense in Duke’s semifinal loss in the ACC Tournament. Gonzaga has just as many shooters as Notre Dame does. Duke allows teams to shoot 42.4% against them from the field on average. That can’t give Blue Devil fans confidence going into an Elite Eight battle with Gonzaga. For Duke to cover the spread in this matchup, the Blue Devils are going to have to play much better defense than they normally do. This is the first true shooting team that Duke has played in this tournament. The Blue Devils had better be stout defensively.
Duke Blue Devils Projected Elite Eight Starting Lineup
- G Tyus Jones, 6-1, Fr., 11.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg
- G Quinn Cook, 6-2, Sr., 15.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg
- G Matt Jones, 6-5, So., 6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg
- F Justise Winslow, 6-6, Fr., 12.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg
- C Jahlil Okafor, 6-11, Fr., 17.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg
- Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (35th year)