Gonzaga’s Drew Timme (2) celebrates with Corey Kispert (24) and Joel Ayayi (11) after Timme made a shot and was fouled during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
- Gonzaga is a 3.5-point favorite over Baylor in Saturday’s game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
- Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press media poll and second in USA Today’s coaches’ poll
- See odds, lines, and spread for this highly touted matchup between Gonzaga and Baylor below
The polls are split on who is the best team in college basketball. Fittingly, the matter will be settled on the court in the city where the entire NCAA Tournament is likely to be held this season.
Gonzaga faces Baylor at 1 PM EST Saturday, December 5th, 2020, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. While March Madness is still a long way off, this is the type of a matchup with a Final Four feel.
Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press media poll and No. 2 in USA Today’s coaches’ poll. Conversely, Baylor is ranked first by the coaches and second by the media.
The oddsmakers pegged Gonzaga as 3.5-point favorites in this early-season showdown.
#1 Gonzaga vs #2 Baylor Odds
Odds taken Dec. 4 at FanDuel
Both teams are 3-0. Baylor has also been a winner all three times against the spread while Gonzaga is 2-1.
Quality Wins for Gonzaga
Two of Gonzaga’s three wins have come against teams ranked in the top 15.
The Bulldogs opened their season with a 102-90 victory over Kansas at Fort Myers, Florida, as a four-point favorite on Thanksgiving. On Wednesday night, Gonzaga downed West Virginia 87-82 in Indianapolis, though they failed to cover the 6.5-point spread.
Gonzaga’s other win was against Auburn 90-67 in Fort Myers.
Gonzaga is strong inside with the forward tandem of senior All-American Corey Kispert and Drew Timme averaging a combined 45.6 points and 11.3 rebounds. Timme has averages of 23.3 and 6.3, while Kispert’s numbers are 22.3 and 5.0.
Last season, the Bulldogs had six players with scoring averages in double figures while going 31-2. They have five this year as joining Kispert and Timme are junior guard Joel Ayayi (13.7), freshman guard Jalen Suggs (13.3), and junior guard Andrew Nembhard (11.7).
Nembhard, a transfer from Florida, scored a season-high 19 points against West Virginia. Ayayi matched a career-high 21 points, and Kispert had 19.
Baylor Passes First Test
After opening with victories over Louisiana-Lafayette and Washington by an average of 32 points last weekend in Las Vegas, Baylor passed its first test of the early season Wednesday night.
The Bears downed fifth-ranked Illinois 82-69 in Indianapolis as 4.5-point favorites. It was the first time in program history that Baylor played in a non-conference game between top five teams.
Sophomore guard Adam Flagler led four Baylor players in double figures with 18 points. However, it was the Bears’ defense that played a key role in the victory.
Standout Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu finished with 18 points but was just 6-of-18 from the field. Impactful center Kofi Cockburn managed just seven points but was also limited to 18 minutes because of foul trouble.
Flagler, a transfer from Presbyterian, is making a big impact in the early going for Baylor. His 15.7 scoring average is second on the team behind junior guard Jared Butler (16.3).
Suggs Provides Scare
The highest-ranked recruit in program history, Jalen Suggs, gave Gonzaga a scare against West Virginia when he was forced from the game with a left foot injury.
Jalen Suggs non-contact injury, doesn’t look good pic.twitter.com/aDmKfeyYgi
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) December 3, 2020
Suggs writhed in pain and appeared to have a significant injury. Yet he returned in the second half and helped spark the Bulldogs’ win.
It remains to be seen if Suggs has any lingering effects.
Zags Perfect Vs Bears
Gonzaga has won all five games against Baylor, the last an 83-71 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2019 at Salt Lake City.
Kispert was the only current Bulldogs player to see action in that game. In 35 minutes, he had 16 points and seven rebounds.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Butler struggled, making just 4-of-13 field goal attempts for 11 points in 32 minutes. The Bears, though, got under the 14.5-point number.
Baylor has a better team this time, good enough to finally beat the Bulldogs.
The Pick: Baylor ML (+142)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.