While Gonzaga is the unanimous No. 1 team in college basketball, that distinction has not helped it cover spreads in conference play, and on Thursday, the Bulldogs will be facing a Pepperdine team that will give them their best shot.
Gonzaga is tops in the nation in both points per game and on a per-possession basis, but has had a tendency to take its foot off the gas late in games, averaging 48.9 points on average in the first half compared to 47.2 points in the second half.
Pepperdine is one of the few teams in the WCC with the firepower on offense to perhaps keep things semi-close. The Waves do the little things well, ranking eighth in the country in team free throw shooting percentage and in the top 20 percent in assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Waves also have one of the best passing guards in the country in Colbey Ross, who ranks 10th in the nation in assists per game and can go off at any point himself, registering 19 points per game.
For as special as Gonzaga is on offense, it ranks 95th in points allowed on a per-possession basis on defense and with the team covering the spread in just three of its past eight (3-4-1), in most cases due to pulling starters early, Pepperdine should be able to keep itself active and stay within the number.
The play: Pepperdine, +24.5.
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