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Michigan State vs. (23) Gonzaga CBB Gambling Free Picks & Preview

NCAA Basketball Betting – Spartans vs Bulldogs

After rolling over five consecutive opponents, the No. 23 Gonzaga Bulldogs finally met their match against a perfect Illinois squad that came into Assembly Hall and handed the Bulldogs their first loss of the season.

Date/Time: 9:00 PM ET, December 10, 2011
Venue: McCarthey Athletic Center, Spokane, WA
Broadcast: ESPN2
Spread: OFF
Over/Under: OFF

Now the Dogs’ can show just how good they are by rebounding against a surging Michigan State Spartans who are looking to extend their current run while breaking into the top 25.

The Spartans are building momentum, and after losing their first two outings, have strung together seven straight victories that includes crushing Central Connecticut State 89-69 in East Lansing on Wednesday.

All signs pointed to a struggle in the first half as Michigan State went to the locker room 36-34. However, a nice post-halftime surge put the Blue Devils away for good.

Michigan State shot 51 percent while the Blue Devils struggled against a good defensive effort with only 34. MSU made a huge difference on the glass, dragging down 24 defensive rebounds to CCS’s 14.

Guard Travis Trice was the high scorer for the Spartans with 20 points on 75 percent shooting in 22 minutes, 12 of that coming from three-point range. Branden Dawson contributed 11 big rebounds. It was the first double digit rebound game of his career. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

As for the Bulldogs, they fell to 1-4 in the all-time series with the Fighting Illini, as seven-footer Meyers Leonard was a defensive stud and scored 21 points including a two-handed flush with just under five minutes remaining to put the Illini up 69-60.

That broke the Bulldogs spirit, as Leonard who was limited in the first half due to foul trouble, stepped up big time in the final 20 minutes, battling inside against Gonzaga center Robert Sacre to upset the Dogs’, 82-75.

Sacre took advantage of those early Illinois fouls, scoring 14 points in the first half, but finished the game with just 16.

Illinois consistently broke Gonzaga’s 2-3 zone, getting dribble penetration and sharp outside shooting to stretch the Bulldogs defense.

The loss dropped Gonzaga four spots in the rankings after coming in at No. 19.

The Bulldogs will now need to regroup and overcome a Spartans squad that have recorded more rebounds than their opponents for the past nine games.

The big match up in this one will be Sacre and MSU big Derrick Nix.

I expect the Bulldogs to get a big push from Sacre controlling the paint and forcing the Spartans to shot from the outside were they have not done very well, making just 30 percent from 3-point range.

Free Pick: Gonzaga

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