Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (2) plays against Oklahoma in the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
- The No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the No. 5 seed Creighton Bluejays in a West Region Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament tilt Sunday, March 28th
- Gonzaga is on a quest for the program’s first National Championship, while Creighton is seeking what would be a huge upset on its way to a program-first berth in the Elite 8
- Which player props represent the best betting value? See the top available offerings below
Gonzaga’s march to March Madness immortality continues Sunday when the nation’s preeminent mid-major takes on another mid-major powerhouse in Creighton. The Zags, who have won all but one of their games this season by at least 10 points, enter the Regional Semifinal contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as 13-point favorites. Tip time is 2:10 pm ET.
Mark Few’s team dispatched of No. 16 Norfolk State 98-5 in the first round and No. 8 Oklahoma 87-71 in the Round of 32 to advance to the program’s sixth straight regionals, while Greg McDermott’s men took down a pair of plucky upstarts in No. 12 UC Santa Barbara 63-62 and No. 13 Ohio 72-58 for the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1974.
First-Team All-American Corey Kispert led the Bulldogs in scoring against Norfolk State, putting up a game-high 23. It was Second-Team All-American Drew Timme’s turn in the second round against the Sooners. The sophomore poured in a career-high 30. Meantime, All-Big East First-Teamer Marcus Zegarowski led the the Bluejays in scoring for both Big Dance games, putting up 17 against the Gauchos and 20 against the Bobcats.
Creighton vs Gonzaga Player Props
|Player||Points||Rebounds||Assists||Three Pointers Made|
|Denzel Mahoney (Creighton)||10.5 (O -114 | U -110)||3.5 (O -138 | U +110)||1.5 (O +102 | U -130)||1.5 (O -176 | U +138)|
|Damien Jefferson (Creighton)||11.5 (O -128 | U +102)||5.5 (O -152 | U +122)||2.5 (O +126 | U -158)||1.5 (O +150 | U -192)|
|Christian Bishop (Creighton)||11.5 (O -120 | U -106)||8.5 (O-128 | U +100)||1.5 (O +108 | U -135)||Off|
|Mitchell Ballock (Creighton)||10.5 (O -128 | U +102)||3.5 (O -132 | U +106)||2.5 (O -114 | U -110)||2.5 (O +116 | U -145)|
|Marcus Zegarowski (Creighton)||16.5 (O -104 | U -122)||3.5 (O -106 | U -118)||4.5 (O +126 | U -158)||2.5 (O +132 | U -168)|
|Corey Kispert (Gonzaga)||18.5 (O -128 | U +102)||5.5 (O +114 | U -142)||1.5 (O +144 | U -182)||2.5 (O -128 | U +102)|
|Drew Timme (Gonzaga)||18.5 (O -132 | U +106)||7.5 (O -130 | U +104)||2.5 (O +110 | U -138)||Off|
|Joel Ayayi (Gonzaga)||12.5 (O -112 | U -112)||6.5 (O -132 | U +106)||2.5 (O +122 | U -152)||1.5 (O +128 | U -160)|
|Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga)||8.5 (O -122 | U -102)||2.5 (O +112 | U -140)||4.5 (O -128 | U +102)||1.5 (O +190 | U -245)|
|Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga)||15.5 (O -104 | U -120)||5.5 (O -124 | U +100)||4.5 (O +120 | U -150)||1.5 (O +126 | U -160)|
Odds taken on March 26 at FanDuel
It’s well-known that the Bluejays live and die by the three. Unfortunately for Creighton fans, their team died in the Big East title game to Georgetown — going 9-of-34 beyond the arc for 26.5% — in a 73-48 loss. But after McDermott’s team had another off-game in its first round victory over the Gauchos (going 7-of-25 for 28%), the Bluejays sharpened their shooting eye against the Bobcats in the Round of 32, going 9-of-21 for 42.9%.
Sunday’s tilt against the Zags figures to be an up-and-down affair — with Gonzaga putting up a nation’s-best 92.1 points per game. So, with that in mind, if Creighton is going to at least try to keep up, its going to need to attempt — and convert — shots from distance.
“To beat them, we have to play really, really well for 40 minutes. They’re a great team. They don’t have any weaknesses. I feel confident. We’ll be ready.” – Marcus Zegarowski on facing Gonzaga pic.twitter.com/Ac0von6NBy
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) March 23, 2021
I’m targeting Zegarowski specifically in this spot. The team’s best player converted three-point shots at a 42.1% clip this season, averaging about 2.8 made threes per game over 28 games played. But that number has shot up dramatically in the last six outings. The junior from Hamilton, Massachusetts has gone 20-of-33 (60.6%) in that time frame, dropping 3.3 threes per game.
- The pick: Marcus Zegarowski Over 2.5 made three-pointers (+132)
Plus, at that price, you’re getting insane value.
Drew It All
While it’s tempting to side with Kispert getting back into the groove Sunday after an “off” game (16 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field) against OU or the ultra-talented Suggs to get loose against the Bluejays (as I predicted he might on his way to to a potential Final Four MOP honor), the value in any of the props for those two Zags just isn’t there. But they are for a certain Lone Star State native whose versatility is reminding some of NBA title-winning siblings.
Drew Timme is a crossover between a Gasol brother and an intramural star. Wonderful low post passer whose look is a total vibe
— Parker Fleming (@PAKA_FLOCKA) March 22, 2021
Timme’s line against the Sooners was straight out of the Bill Walton or Christian Laettner handbook. The 6-foot-10 post put up 30 points (9-of-12 from the field and 12-of-14 from the foul line), 13 rebounds and four assists. He figures to get plenty of points and boards against an undersized Creighton team Sunday. But, it’s that last stat that has my rushing to the betting window..
He averaged 2.2 assists per game this season — but has had at least three dimes in five straight outings. Timme’s footwork — and ability to find the open teammate — will be on full display Sunday. And at that price, fuhgeddaboudit.
- The pick: Drew Timme Over 2.5 assists (+110)
This should be a fun one to watch with plenty of points. But I’m focusing on Zegarowski’s three-point shooting prowess and Timme’s vision to especially stand out.
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.