West Region Second Round Handicapping Preview: #9 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs #8 Gonzaga Bulldogs

2014 NCAA Tournament
West Region – Second Round

Viejas Arena  – San Diego, California
#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs #8 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Friday, March 21, 2014, 4:40 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Oklahoma State -2
Current Line: Oklahoma State -3
Opening Total: 140
Current Total: 139 
Opening Money Line: Oklahoma State -135 / Gonzaga +115
Current Money Line: Oklahoma State -160 / Gonzaga +140

Gonzaga is a 3 point underdog against Oklahoma State in the west region second round Friday in San Diego.
Gonzaga is a 3 point underdog against Oklahoma State in the west region second round Friday in San Diego.

The 28-6 Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the 21-12 Oklahoma State Cowboys in Friday’s West Region second round in San Diego. The winner between the #8 seeded Bulldogs and #9 seeded Cowboys will play either #1 Arizona or #16 Weber State in the third round Sunday.

Oklahoma State was 8th in the Big 12 at 8-10. The Cowboys started off the season 17-3 and were ranked in the top 10 nationally. However, Oklahoma State then went on a 7 game losing streak. The last three games of that losing streak included a 3 game suspension for star guard Marcus Smart after he got into a physical altercation with a Texas Tech fan in Lubbock. When Smart returned, OSU went on a 4 game winning streak. However, the Cowboys have lost two of their last 3 games, including 77-70 to Kansas in the Big 12 quarterfinals. OSU has gone 5-11 against NCAA Tournament teams this season. The Cowboys are making their 25th tournament appearance overall and 12th in the last 14 seasons.

Gonzaga won the regular season West Coast Conference title with a 15-3 record by two games over BYU and San Francisco. The Bulldogs also won the WCC Tournament by beating BYU 75-64 in the championship game. Gonzaga went 3-4 against NCAA Tournament teams. Gonzaga is making their 16th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and 17th overall.

Gonzaga leads the series against Oklahoma State 5-0. All five previous meetings have occurred since 2004. The Bulldogs won 69-68 in Stillwater last season.

Oklahoma State is coached by Travis Ford. The Cowboys have losses to Memphis in a tournament in Orlando, at Kansas State, Kansas twice, Oklahoma twice, Baylor twice, Iowa State twice, at Texas Tech and at Texas. OSU has key wins over Memphis at home, at South Florida, over Purdue and Butler in the tournament in Orlando, South Carolina in Stillwater, Louisiana Tech in Oklahoma City, Colorado in Las Vegas, Texas, West Virginia twice, Texas Tech twice, TCU twice, Kansas and Kansas State.  The Cowboys are 13-15-1 ATS and the total is 16-13 this season.

OSU is outscoring teams 80-69 this season. The Cowboys are #18 in scoring nationally. Oklahoma State shoots 46.5% from the field and 36.8% from 3 point range. OSU makes 72.4% of their free throws. Cowboy opponents are shooting 40.7% from the field and 32.2% from 3 point range. OSU is #49 in field goal defense nationally. The Cowboys are averaging 35.3 rebounds a game and allowing 34.3. OSU is #317 nationally out of 351 teams in rebounds allowed. Oklahoma State averages 13.6 assists, 7.6 steals, 4.8 blocks, and 10.4 turnovers per game, and opponents average 10.9 assists, 6.2 steals, 3.7 blocks per game, and 14. turnovers per game.

Smart averages 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.8 steals a game. Guard Markel Brown averages 17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1 steal and 1.1 blocks per game. Forward Le’Bryan Nash averages 14.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Guard Phil Forte III averages 13.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Guard-forward Brian Williams averages 6.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Stevie Clark averaged 5.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. He was kicked off the team after his second arrest in a month.  Forward-center Kamari Murphy averages 6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. Forward-Center Michael Cobbins is out for the season with a broken foot. He averages 4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

Gonzaga is coached by Mark Few. The Bulldogs have tosses to Dayton in the Maui Invitational, Kansas State in Wichita, at Portland, at Memphis, at BYU, and at San Diego. Gonzaga has won 5 straight games. The Bulldogs have key wins over Colorado State, Oakland, Washington State, Arkansas in Maui, New Mexico State, at West Virginia, Santa Clara 3 times, San Francisco twice, St. Mary’s 3 times, Pacific twice, Pepperdine twice, Loyola Marymount twice, San Diego, BYU twice, and Portland. Gonzaga is 16-14-1 ATS and the total is 12-19 this season.

Gonzaga is outscoring teams 77-65 this season. The Bulldogs are #55 or better in both categories. Gonzaga is shooting 49.8% from the field and 39.4% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs are #5 nationally in field goal percentage and #17 in 3 point shooting. Gonzaga makes 71% of their free throws. Bulldog opponents are shooting 39.5% from the field and 32% from 3 point range. Gonzaga is #17 nationally in field goal defense. The Bulldogs average 35.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.9 per game. Gonzaga averages 14.7 assists, 11.3 turnovers, 6.7 steals, and 4 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.1 assists, 11.9 turnovers, 5.4 steals and 3 blocks per game.

Center Sam Dower, Jr. averages 15 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1 assist per game. Guard Kevin Pangos averages 14.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Gary Bell, Jr. averages 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1 steal per game. Center Przemek Karnowski averages 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Guard David Stockton (son of NBA Hall-of-Famer John) averages 7.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Drew Barham, Gerard Coleman and Kyle Dranginis will also get significant minutes.

Oklahoma State is 5-2-1 ATS overall, 11-27-1 against teams with winning records, 2-6-1 after a straight up loss, 2-8 in neutral site games, 1-6-1 after failing to cover, and 0-4 against WCC teams. The last 4 games in this series have gone under the total.

Gonzaga is 4-0 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 overall, 7-2 against Big 12 teams, 4-9 in NCAA Tournament games, and 1-4 in non-conference games. The Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS against the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State is not your typical #9 seed. The Cowboys are much better with Smart ( a likely high NBA lottery pick). In fact many people are picking the Cowboys as a dark horse to make a run at the Final Four. Very few people seem to be giving Gonzaga a chance. However, the Bulldogs have a lot more size than the Cowboys, especially without Cobbins. I think the Bulldogs win a close game.

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