NCAA March Madness: Gonzaga vs. GCU betting preview, odds and predictions

By VSiN Staff  ( 

March 12, 2023 03:53 PM

NCAA March Madness: Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. GCU Lopes betting preview, odds and predictions

In the 3 vs. 14 matchup in the West region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, the Gonzaga Bulldogs face the GCU Lopes with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting oddsin-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

MORE: Check out the public betting splits for every college basketball game on the VSiN betting splits page

How to watch Gonzaga vs. GCU

When: Friday, 7:35 p.m. ET

Where: Denver, Colorado

Watch: truTV

Odds for Gonzaga vs. GCU

Spread: Gonzaga -16

Total: 156 

(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

West Region No. 3 Seed Gonzaga Bulldogs

Drew Timme has probably been the best big man in college basketball in each of the last two years, and Gonzaga is lucky to have him as somebody it can rely on in the paint. Timme scores efficiently on his own, as he has absurd touch around the basket. But he also does great work creating for his teammates, which is why everything runs through him. The Bulldogs also have an excellent wing in junior Julian Strawther, who can really shoot and has good size for a small forward. The question for the Zags is whether they’ll get enough out of their backcourt this tournament. That has been a strength for Gonzaga in the past, but Nolan Hickman, Rasir Bolton and Malachi Smith will need to be better than they were during the regular season. We got a glimpse of what this team is capable of when the Zags ran the Saint Mary’s Gaels off the court in the WCC Tournament.

West Region No. 14 Seed GCU Lopes

The Lopes are one of the most dangerous mid-major teams that got into the Big Dance, and they’re led by a former SEC coach in Bryce Drew — which is always a nice bonus. GCU also happens to have a lot of talent offensively, as Rayshon Harrison is a maestro off the dribble, Gabe McClothan is a versatile scoring forward and then Chance McMillian and Noah Baumann can both shoot it from deep. This Lopes team was a top-60 group when it comes to offensive efficiency this season, so there’s real firepower here. The squad will just need to focus on getting some stops, as it won’t be as easy to win shootouts against teams with more talent. This matchup is interesting because the GCU athletic director has made it clear that he wants his program to be the next Gonzaga. 

Gonzaga vs. GCU matchup analysis

If you like points, this is probably the game for you. Grand Canyon ranks 299th in adjusted tempo, but this was a very efficient offensive squad, despite a low FG% at the rim. The Antelopes are 21st in the nation in 3P% and are not afraid to fire away from deep with a 3P Rate of 40.9%. When you shoot 37.5% on 3s, taking a lot of them makes a lot more sense.

The irony is that Gonzaga is shooting 38.4% on triple tries, but only has a 3P Rate of 32.8%. The Bulldogs got off to a slow start this season, but ultimately finished as the nation’s top team in adjusted offensive efficiency per Bart Torvik and Ken Pomeroy. The Bulldogs tested themselves in the non-conference and played eight teams that are in the NCAA Tournament, including Kentucky, Texas, Purdue, Xavier, Alabama and Baylor. They also played Saint Mary’s three times as part of the WCC schedule.

People have long dumped on Gonzaga for playing a weak schedule, but the WCC is one of the stronger and deeper mid-major leagues out there these days and Mark Few challenges his team in those early-season tournaments. This is a team that is second in 2P% (59%) and third in 3P%.

However, this is also a team that has been shaky defensively throughout the year. In fact, the Bulldogs are outside the top 225 in both 2P% and 3P% defense. As mentioned, the WCC is a strong conference, particularly on the offensive side, but this is the worst defensive team that Few has had in probably the last 20 years. Dating back to 2008, it is the worst team in adjusted defensive efficiency per Torvik by almost 40 spots.

In other words, this game is all about whether or not Grand Canyon can keep pace scoring points. Gonzaga will get theirs. How many the Antelopes can muster will determine whether they cover and put a scare into the ‘Zags, who are not a No. 1 seed for the first time since 2018.

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