Texas Longhorns vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Prediction & Game Preview -- 11/13/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: McCarthey Athletic Center, Spokane, WA
Where to watch:  ESPN2

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Gonzaga -7.5
BetMGM: Gonzaga -7.5
Caesars: Gonzaga -7.5

Season record
No. 5 Texas: 1-0
No. 1 Gonzaga: 1-0

You couldn’t ask for a better start to the college basketball season than 5-0 from Ben Burns. He cleaned up shop as the season rolls on into the weekend. Catch Ben’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.  

Texas - Gonzaga preview and analysis


Recent form
Texas: won 92-48 vs. Houston Baptist on Tuesday
Gonzaga: won 97-63 vs. Dixie State on Tuesday

There’s nothing better sometimes than a top-5 matchup in college basketball to get the early-season blood flowing.

We were already given a treat of Kentucky-Duke to begin the season. For an encore, the Texas Longhorns will head to Spokane to take on the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in what could be a future NCAA Tournament matchup should everything go accordingly.

No. 5 Texas is looking to defeat an AP No. 1-ranked team for the first time in program history on Saturday. Back in 2007-08, the Longhorns defeated the top-ranked UCLA Bruins from the Coaches Poll. You’ll remember that team; Darren Collison, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. All three didn’t turn out so bad.

The Longhorns are coming off a 92-48 victory in their opener Tuesday against Houston Baptist. It was head coach Chris Beard’s debut in Austin after being the coach at Texas Tech, replacing Shaka Smart who took the job at Marquette.

Beard, who coached Texas Tech to the 2019 National Championship game, is hoping to bring that same success to a Longhorns program that didn’t reach the lofty goals set when Smart became head coach.

"Our guys were dialed in and played well tonight," Beard said. "It was a great crowd. There was a buzz in our locker room. Special thank you to the students, they turned out."

Six Longhorns scored in double figures, led by Courtney Ramey’s 14 points and four 3-pointers. Texas shot 13 of 22 from deep and 64 percent overall from the field. Reserve guard Jaylon Tyson made all five shots off the bench, as did big men Timmy Allen and Christian Bishop.

"It was fun to play again ... Over time, I think we could grow into something special," Ramey said. "We have a lot of leaders on this team."

Texas had 21 assists on 32 made field goals on Tuesday night while holding Houston Baptist to just 32.7 percent from the field.

If the Longhorns want to prove they’re in the same ilk as Beard’s Red Raiders from a few years ago, one way to do that is beating the top team in the country in their arena.

Gonzaga is undergoing a lot of turnover after losing Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert to the NBA Draft this summer, but the Bulldogs still boast one of the best lineups in the country. They proved that on Tuesday in a 97-63 win over Dixie State, their 18th consecutive season-opening victory.

Talented wing Julian Strawther led the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while top freshman big man Chet Holmgren had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the rout. Holmgren, the No. 1 recruit in the country this past year, became the first player in the last 25 seasons to have 10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five blocked shots in his Division I debut.

The Zags have vengeance on the brain, even if Suggs and Kispert aren’t there anymore. They came within one game of winning the National Championship before the Baylor Bears chose to shock the system.

This is going to be the fourth meeting ever between Texas and Gonzaga, with Gonzaga winning the previous three. But this is the first time a neutral site will not be the host. The last time they faced each other was Nov. 25, 2017, a 76-71 overtime victory in which the Bulldogs were the 17th-ranked team in the country.

Prediction


If you factor star power in a game like this, the big-time players are expected to show up. Strawther and Holmgren have the potential to be the best 1-2 punch in college basketball but they’ll be tested against a smart Texas team. One thing the Zags will have on their side is size; Texas’ frontcourt has its tallest player at 6-foot-7. This is a prime chance for Holmgren to feast down low. Gonzaga by 10

Betting trends


Texas is 27-31 ATS the past three seasons but 14-10 as an underdog.

Texas is 2-8 ATS the past three seasons following a win of 15 points or more.

Gonzaga is 60-3 straight-up over the past three seasons, but 31-29 ATS.

Gonzaga is 25-10 straight-up against Big 12 opponents dating back to 1997.

Projected starting lineup


Texas:
PG: Marcus Carr
SG: Courtney Ramey
SF:
Andrew Jones
PF:
Timmy Allen
C:
Christian Bishop

Gonzaga:
PG: Andrew Nembhard
SG: Rasir Bolton
SF:
Julian Strawther
PF:
Drew Timme
C:
Chet Holmgren

Statistical leaders


Texas:
Points: Courtney Ramey -- 14.0
Rebounds: Timmy Allen -- 6.0
Assists: Marcus Carr -- 7.0

Gonzaga:
Points: Julian Strawther -- 17.0
Rebounds: Chet Holmgren -- 13.0
Assists: Anton Watson -- 7.0

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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