Arkansas Vs. Gonzaga Odds, Picks, and Predictions (3/24/22)

4th seed Arkansas takes on 1st seed Gonzaga in the East region of the Sweet Sixteen. Arkansas has been close to falling in the two previous rounds, and the team looks uninspiring. They defeated 13th seed Vermont 75-71 in the First Round and were +8 in points off of turnovers. The Razorbacks narrowly beat 12th seed New Mexico St 53-48 in the Round of 32. Arkansas shot a horrific 27.5 FG%, but their aggression in the paint saved them. Arkansas made 16 more free throws than New Mexico St, a huge margin considering the game was won by 5 points. Arkansas is 1st in the nation in FTM and 3rd in FTA, so their offense is predicated on getting to the line. The SEC’s hopes reside with Arkansas because they are the last remaining squad from that conference. 

Gonzaga has gotten off to a slow start in both of their previous games. They defeated 16th seed Georgia St 93-72, but they were only up 2 points at the half. Next, they prevailed 82-78 over 9th seed Memphis. Gonzaga was down 10 points at halftime, and Memphis looked like they would pull off the upset victory. One 1st seed has already lost (Baylor), and Gonzaga will look to not be the second one to fall. They lost to Baylor in the Championship last season, so they won’t be satisfied unless they win the title this year. 

Arkansas Vs. Gonzaga Betting Odds

Arkansas Betting

In this tournament, 6’2” JD Notae is averaging 17.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 3.5 APG on a terrible 29.4 FG%. 6’6” Stanley Umude is producing 15.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 3.0 APG on 42.8 FG%. Arkansas has gotten interior production from 6’10” Jaylin Williams – 11.5 PPG and 12.5 RPG. The Razorbacks have gotten this far on their free throws, but their shooting must improve if they want to slay Gonzaga. Arkansas has shot a miserable 38/107 (35.5 FG%) and 10/37 (27.0 3PT%). They took an astounding 50 total free throws in both games and made 42 of them, but I don’t think they can get that many against Gonzaga, who only allowed 14.8 FTA per game during the season. 

Arkansas has a sturdy perimeter defense, but the interior defense is unreliable and vulnerable to cutters. This deficiency cannot manifest against Gonzaga because they field probably the best interior duo in the country (Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren). If Arkansas does not get to the line and cannot limit those two, it is improbable they will advance to the Elite Eight.

Gonzaga Odds

Chet Holmgren may be the more prestigious draft prospect, but Drew Timme is absolutely the leader of this team. He’s been the MVP of the whole tournament in my mind with an average of 28.5 PPG, 13.5 RPG, and 3.0 APG on 23/37 (62.1%) from the field. Timme is unstoppable when he posts up, yet he is also a willing passer. Along with Timme, Gonzaga has likely top 3 pick Chet Holmgren. He’s a 7’0” skilled center who can do it all. For the tournament, he’s producing 14.0 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 5.5 BPG on 60 FG%. Timme’s scoring and Chet’s defense fuel their explosive interior dominance. Arkansas is a great matchup for Gonzaga because they do not have the personnel to combat this duo.

They also have a deadly perimeter game, which gives balance to the offense. Andrew Nembhard is averaging 16.0 PPG and 8.0 APG on 8/15 (53.3%) from three. He orchestrates the pick and roll, but he is also an extremely efficient shooter off the dribble. Rasir Bolton (47.0 3PT%) and Julian Strawther (37.1 3PT%) space the floor and complete this deadly offense. The offense figures to nearly always produce. The defense, though, will decide whether Gonzaga cuts down the net or not. If Gonzaga can defend Arkansas without fouling, they are a clear favorite to advance to the Elite Eight. 

Arkansas Vs. Gonzaga Picks & Prediction

I like Gonzaga to come out strong and convincingly win this game. They are a mismatch for Arkansas, and Drew Timme looks unstoppable right now. The only case I can make for Arkansas revolves around forcing Timme and Holmgren into foul trouble while shutting down Gonzaga perimeter shooters. It’s too unlikely for me, and I think Gonzaga plays with some fire after nearly losing to Memphis. The spread is -8.5 Gonzaga, and I actually like them to cover. At this stage, I believe Arkansas is a pretender, and Gonzaga is the premier contender. 

March Madness Bracket

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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