The marquee clash of the Thanksgiving week slate in college basketball goes down in Las Vegas tonight at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN as the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs will battle the No. 2 UCLA Bruins as part of the Good Sam Empire Classic. This No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown is, of course, a rematch of their Final Four thriller from this past April.
Gonzaga enter tonight’s matchup coming off a 107-54 pummeling of Central Michigan to open the Empire Classic on Monday. Chet Holmgren led with 19 points and five rebounds in a game where head coach Mark Few turned to his bench for most of the second half.
The No. 1 Bulldogs are averaging 93.2 points per game on a nation best 55.5% shooting from the field. Wooden Award candidate Drew Timme is putting up 18.8 points and 5.5 rebounds a game and in a few cases, he hasn’t played any more than 25 minutes. Fellow starters Holmgren and Julian Strawther have also been viable offensive weapons.
UCLA got a little bit more of a challenge in its Empire Classic opener on Monday, pulling away from Bellarmine for a 75-62 victory. It was Peyton Watson who led with 19 points and four rebounds.
The Bruins also boast one of the nation’s best offenses, averaging 90.8 ppg on just under 50 percent shooting. The have their own Wooden Award candidate in Johnny Juzang, who is putting up 19.8 points and 4.2 rebounds a game. He’s been backed up by Jaime Jaquez and Jules Bernard, both of whom are averaging just over 15 ppg.
Here’s some data about both teams, and a pick for the game!
Against the spread: 3-2
Against the spread: 3-2
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Gonzaga -7
Moneyline: Gonzaga -280, UCLA +225
The Bulldogs is a well oiled machine and with the eyes of the nation on them for this clash, Timme and company will amp things up tonight. Top 10 Texas couldn’t slow the Gonzaga offense down a few weeks ago and unfortunately for UCLA, they’ll meet the same fate.
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