Thursday, November 26, 2020, Suncoast Credit Union Arena, Fort Myers, Florida, 1:30 p.m. ET
Kansas vs. Gonzaga Betting Preview: Kansas (+5.5/-114), Gonzaga (-5.5/-106)
One of the best defensive teams in the country last season should be exceptional at holding down opponents again as the Jayhawks kick off an uncertain 2020-21 season. Kansas was a heavy favorite to win a title last season before the NCAA Tournament was called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic and will open this season No. 6 in the country.
Big man Udoka Azubuike was the No. 27 overall selection by the Utah Jazz in the just-completed NBA draft and his departure creates a major hole in the middle. Exterior defense should remain supreme with guard Marcus Garrett back for his senior campaign following a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year season.
Bryce Thompson, a heralded 6-foot-5 freshman guard, should make a big impact, as should junior-college transfer Tyon Grant-Foster, another big guard at 6-foot-7.
The No. 1 team in the country will be put to the test early as the Bulldogs’ elite offense meets a national power with a defense as good as anybody’s. While Kansas was No. 1 when last season was halted, Gonzaga was No. 2 and the opener of this season represents a de facto title game.
Highly-rated freshman guard Jalen Suggs has been added to the Bulldogs’ six and joins standout returning players in forward Corey Kispert, guard Joel Ayayi and forward Drew Timme. A top offense vs. a top defense will be a test of wills.
As good as Gonzaga is expected to be, there figures to be an adjustment period after the departure of leading scorer and rebounder Filip Petrusev. Also gone is guard Ryan Woolridge, who led the team in assists and steals.
Kansas vs. Gonzaga Betting Pick for November 26, 2020
hile Kansas gave up 60.7 points per game last season (ninth best in the nation), the Jayhawks did allow at least 68 points six times and gave up 84 to a relentless Dayton team. Kansas’ three defeats last season came to ranked teams, while Gonzaga’s two defeats came against unranked Michigan and No. 23 BYU.
Will Gonzaga’s offense exploit early-season continuity issues within the Kansas defense, or will Kansas’ defense exploit early continuity issues with the Gonzaga offense? Kansas’ defensive credentials would appear to have the edge but Gonzaga’s offense figures to have enough in the end.
Kansas vs. Gonzaga Betting Pick:
Gonzaga 73, Kansas 69
Kansas vs. Gonzaga Best Bet
Defense is always the great neutralizer, especially at the level Kansas can play, so expect this one to be tight in the end. Of Kansas’ three defeats last season, one was by two points to Duke and another was by a single point against Villanova.
Kansas vs. Gonzaga Best Bet: Kansas (+5.5/-114)