USC head coach Andy Enfield’s perfect against-the-spread record in NCAA tournament play met its match with the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Entering Tuesday night’s Elite Eight matchup against Gonzaga, Enfield was 10-0 against the spread between his stops at Florida Gulf Coast and USC. With the Trojans, Enfield was 7-0 ATS, including the Trojans’ three victories that brought them to the West regional final in Indianapolis.
The Trojans were the favorites in their first three tournament games, but ended up as 8.5-point underdogs against the undefeated Bulldogs. It didn’t take long to see why Gonzaga was favored.
The Bulldogs dropped 49 first-half points and took a 19-point lead into the halftime locker room. They never looked back, and cruised to a 85-66 victory to improve to 30-0 on the season and advance to the Final Four for the second time under Mark Few.
Gonzaga continues to cover vs. large point spreads
The last time Gonzaga reached the Final Four was in 2017. That season, Gonzaga knocked off South Carolina in the semifinals to set up a matchup with North Carolina in the national championship. UNC pulled out a 71-65 victory, depriving Gonzaga of its first-ever national title.
Could this be the year? With the way the Bulldogs have played to this point in the tournament, it’s easy to see why they are such significant favorites to win it all. This is a team that is extremely talented with freshman Jalen Suggs running the show, Drew Timme scoring with ease in the paint and Corey Kispert knocking down 3-pointers at an extremely efficient clip.
Gonzaga has covered the spread in each of its NCAA tournament games, all as a large favorite. In fact, Tuesday night’s game was the first since the Dec. 26 game against Virginia that Gonzaga was not favored by double digits.
Thus far in the tournament, Gonzaga covered the spread as a 33-point favorite against Norfolk State, a 15.5-point favorite against Oklahoma, a 12.5-point favorite against Creighton and now an 8.5-point favorite against USC.
Gonzaga will almost certainly be a large favorite again in the Final Four. Just how large the point spread is depends on the opponent. The Bulldogs will face the winner of the matchup between Michigan and UCLA. Michigan is the East Region’s No. 1 seed while UCLA is an 11 seed that started the NCAA tournament in the First Four but has since won four straight games to reach the Elite Eight.
No matter the opponent, Gonzaga will be a handful to deal with.
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