#12 Gonzaga Bulldogs Predictions: 2010/2011 NCAA Future Lines
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Sportsbook.com Odds to win NCAA title – 50/1
NCAA Basketball – Gonzaga Preview
Key players added – Marquise Carter, Hyland, Keegan, Olynyk, Kelly
Key players lost –Matt Bouldin
Last season Gonzaga did not roll through the West Coast Conference like they are used to doing, but they still won the league title. They were a little overshadowed by conference foe St. Mary’s who made the Sweet 16 in last season’s Big Dance while Gonzaga only made it to the 2nd round. However, the Bulldogs may be better this season and they are the favorites to win their 11th straight WCC title.
The Zags return 4 starters, but the one they lost is a big one in PG Matt Bouldin, who was the WCC Player of the Year. Gonzaga head coach Mark Few recently stated, “It will be difficult because we ran everything through Matt (Bouldin). We probably have to be more of an inside-out team.”
F Elias Harris (14.9 ppg 7.1 rpg last season) is the leading candidate to win the conference player of the year this season and he is a very athletic and tough player that will likely be a NBA first round pick when he leaves school.
The Bulldogs also return G Steven Gray (13 ppg last season) and 7-foot C Robert Sacre (10.3 ppg 5.4 rpg), and these guys with Harris give the Zags a formidable trio that can score from the inside and out. Sacre is on the verge on becoming one of the best big men in the country and Gray can score, but was inconsistent in his long range shooting last season and will have to find his range for the Bulldogs to go far in the Big Dance. Both Gray and Harris were selected to the Wooden preseason list of the nation’s top 50 players.
The 4th returning starter is Demetri Goodson (6.4 ppg last season), who is a perfect payer for the Zags, as he is a great defensive player that does not look for many shots. That is a good thing, as he is not a good outside shooter.
Even with the returning guys the key guy this season may be juco-transfer Marquise Carter, who takes over for Bouldin at the PG position. Carter will be counted on to produce right away, especially distributing the ball to the aforementioned trio. He will also be helped by true freshman David Stockton, who is the son of another decent Gonzaga PG John Stockton.
The Bulldogs will be very deep inside this season not only with Harris and Sacre, but with more contributions from 7-footer Kelly Olynyk and 6’9” redshirt freshman Sam Dower. However, one main weakness of the Bulldogs last season was their 3-point shooting. If they struggle again shooting from deep teams will stack the inside to stop the big men from dominating the paint. Last season the Bulldogs only shot 35.3% from beyond the 3-pt arc and they only shot 66.4% from the foul line. Shooting from the charity stripe may be even worse this season since Bouldin is gone and he was the best free throw shooter last season.
Gonzaga is stacked and they play a very unselfish type of basketball. The PG issue is a big one, but Carter has the skills and Stockton has the pedigree.
The Bulldogs play a very tough early season schedule facing 3 teams ranked in the top 25 in #3 Kansas State, #16 Illinois, and #14 Baylor as well as tough tests in Notre Dame, Xavier, Oklahoma State, and Wake Forrest.
Surprising stat: Gonzaga has won 10 straight conference titles, which is the longest active streak in the nation.
Strengths: Depth, team-play, size, and many scoring options.
Weaknesses: 3-point shooting, free throw shooting, an unknown PG situation.
Big Dance? Most definitely
Gonzaga Win total prediction for 2010-11
Last season the Bulldogs won 27 games and with their returning players they will increase that this season and be around the 30 win total.
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