Gonzaga vs. Kansas predictions: March Madness odds, picks, bets for Saturday

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Kansas is lucky to be here. 

The Jayhawks earned a lucky call at the end of their Samford game. AJ Staton-McCray smacked all-ball on Nicolas Timberlake.

The Bulldogs would’ve had numbers going the other way down one point with less than 20 seconds left. 


However, more pertinent to this game, Kansas looked exhausted after a 40-minute battle with BuckyBall’s full-court press.

The Jayhawks rank 317th nationally in bench minutes and are down a key starter, leading scorer Kevin McCullar. 

Gonzaga vs. Kansas Odds

TeamSpreadMoneylineTotalGonzaga-3.5 (-120)-178o151.5 (-110)Kansas+3.5 (-102)+146u151.5 (-110)

(Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook)

Gonzaga vs. Kansas Prediction

(3:15 p.m. ET, CBS)

Given Kansas’ lack of depth and its exhausting Thursday battle, I expect the Zags to run the Jayhawks off the floor on Saturday. 

The Zags are an up-tempo, rim-oriented offense.

The Bulldogs push the pace in transition and run dangerous two-man ball screen sets with Ryan Nembhard and Graham Ike, the latter of whom uses pace to leverage position in post-up sets.

Kansas is great at defending those sets, but the Hawks are down their second-highest-volume ball-screen coverage defender in McCullar.

His length and athleticism play well when defending the screens. 

Ryan Nembhard of Gonzaga. Getty Images

But, most importantly, I don’t see the Jayhawks sticking with the Zags’ quick-strike attack 48 hours after an exhausting game with no depth. 

And Kansas’ defensive outlook is much bleaker. 

The Jayhawks are a rim-oriented offense, primarily utilizing big men Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar as rollers, cutters, or posters. 

Behind Ike, the Bulldogs have turned into a deadly interior defense.

They rank eighth nationally in post-up PPP allowed (.67), 11th in 2-point shooting allowed (45%), and top 90 in paint points per game allowed (29). 

I’m hammering Zags tomoro because I think they run over a depthless exhausted team that just got BuckeyBall’d for 40 mins 48 hours earlier AND the Zags interior D has been top-notch this year which is huge against a rim-oriented offense with no spacing pic.twitter.com/7ta9SmiZt4— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) March 22, 2024

You beat Gonzaga by shooting over the top, as the Bulldogs rank sub-230th nationally in Open 3 Rate allowed. 

However, the Jayhawks’ most significant problem is that they don’t have the proper floor spacers or shooters to complement Dickinson, Adams, and DaJuan Harris. 

Kansas ranks 300th nationally in ShotQuality’s Spacing metric, 335th in 3-point rate and 209th in 3-point shooting, allowing defenses to sag toward the interior and muck up every set. 

And with McCullar sidelined, that issue is exacerbated. 

The Zags should overwhelm the Hawks with speed on offense and paint protection on defense, comfortably winning this one and advancing to the Sweet 16. 

Gonzaga vs. Kansas Pick

Gonzaga -3.5 (-120) | Play to -4.5 (-110)

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