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West Virginia vs. Gonzaga March Madness Preview and Pick

It’s a tough challenge for Gonzaga on Thursday night as the Zags, runners-up in the WCC regular season and tournament, have to play West Virginia in Pittsburgh, which is only about 75 miles from the WVU campus. But the Zags are 1-point favorites on for the second round East Region matchup.

Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos

The Bulldogs played in the WCC Tournament championship game for the 15th year in a row, losing to St.Mary’s, 78-74, in overtime. Gonzaga, with coach Mark Few, has been one of the nation’s most successful midmajor teams in NCAA Tournament history. Leading scorer Kevin Pangos, a freshman, is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range. Elias Harris (13.1 ppg) scores in a variety of ways, and at 6-7, 240, he clears space on the boards. 7-foot senior center Robert Sacre (11.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) will be a matchup problem, while freshman guard Gary Bell, Jr., rounds out the Bulldogs’ scorers in double digits at 10.0 points per game. Gonzaga lost a second-round NCAA tournament game last season to BYU.

West Virginia has one of the youngest teams in the field, with five freshmen often seeing action but still have enough veterans to pose a threat. All the youth has led to some inconsistent play against a tough schedule, and the team has struggled at times with its shooting, converting only 30.7% from three-point range. But foes shot 31.4% from there, and WVU often wins with its defense.

Kevin Jones led the Big East in scoring and rebounding. He had 25 points and 10 rebounds in the Big East Tournament loss to the UConn and completed the season averaging 20.0 ppg and 11.2 rpg. In addition, he became just one of two players in program history to score more than 1,700 points and sweep more than 1,000 rebounds. The other? Hall of Famer Jerry West. The Mountaineers also feature strong guard play anchored by senior Darryl “Truck” Bryant, who averaged 17.1 ppg this season. Bryant will surely be motivated following a subpar 4-for-14 performance against Connecticut. West Virginia pounds the offensive glass, averaging 15.0 offensive rpg, seventh in the nation. This is the school’s last season representing the Big East in the tournament: It will be a member of the Big 12 next season. The spread is currently Gonzaga (-1) and total of 133.  Bet this now at Wagerweb.

We like West Virginia +1. The winner of this game likely will face Ohio State on Saturday.

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Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 2012, College Basketball Betting, march madness

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