Elite Eight: Saturday Picks

Brian Twinning and I are back to make some picks for the Saturday slate of Elite Eight games. It has been an up and down tournament for both us but we will keep plugging away. Make sure to check back for our Sunday leans.

Kyle’s Picks:

Texas Tech ML vs Gonzaga

I love this Texas Tech team under Chris Beard. Jarrett Culver is a star and should challenge for top 5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. As much as I have backed the Zags throughout this tournament,  I need to go against them in this spot. The Red Raiders have the length and the shooting to give the Zags fits on both ends of the court.

My fear in going against Gonzaga, is the always seems to find someone to step up when other team leaders struggle. If you like the Bulldogs take them minus the number but i’m “Guns Up” for this contest. Wreck ‘Em Tech!

Virginia -4.5 vs Purdue

Carsen Edwards and company have been incredibly impressive throughout the tournament. They were able to hold on against Tennessee and get their first Sweet 16 win under Matt Painter. They were 0-4 before their game against the Vols.

The Cavaliers on the other hand haven’t looked dominant. They struggled early with Gardner-Webb but took over in the second half. The game against Oklahoma wasn’t pretty but they found a way to get the W. In their last game they squeaked out a victory against the 12 seed Oregon Ducks.

And yet, I’m all in on Virginia. This is the team I have cutting down the nets when it is all said and done. I think they make a statement and impress as they head to the Final Four.

Brian’s Picks:

Texas Tech vs Gonzaga – Under 137

Unfortunately for me the Red Raiders did what I expected and used their size as well as their elite team defense to completely stifle my Wolverines. Gonzaga used their own size and experience to beat a game, but ultimately not fully healthy Florida State team.

Their matchup is one of contrasting styles as the Zags are top 5 in scoring as Tech is top 5 in scoring defense. The Bulldogs can also play a bit of defense and although their preferred offensive style is to get up and down the court, they can just as easily play half court offense while dominating the glass.

Both teams will try and keep each other off the offensive boards and limit second chance points. As seen against FSU, Gonzaga is comfortable winning ugly which I see being the case in this game. Jarrett Culver and company will keep this close by slowing down the pace, but their slow style will keep scoring low for not just the Bulldogs but themselves.

Purdue +2 (first half) vs Virginia

The Boilermakers are chugging along at breakaway speed right now. They have scored 87 in blowout victory against defending champ Villanova and 99 in an epic overtime win against 2 seed Tennessee. Their scoring has been consistent, and they’ve gotten off to fast starts having scored 40 or more points in their last 4 halves of play.

In contrast, Purdue’s opponent Virginia has gotten to the Elite 8 playing Cavalier defense. In their 3 wins thus far they have allowed an average of 52 points. In their last 2 games against Oklahoma and Oregon they gave up 22 points against each in the first half.
The difference here is that the Boilermakers are not only scoring a ton but limiting its opposition to an average of 23.3 points in the first half of games. Virginia is a slow starting team who plays slow and uses its grinding style to wear down the other team over the duration of the game.

If Purdue continues its hot shooting and plays the defense it’s capable of, I see them taking a lead into half in this one. I’m jumping on board the freight train led by Carsen Edwards and the splash man Ryan Cline for the first half of this one.

Make sure to check back to see who the guys like for Sunday’s action. Good luck!

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