On a day of ’giving, college basketball gives fans and bettors a marquee match of top-10 teams with No. 1 Gonzaga battling No. 6 Kansas in Fort Myers, Fla.
In a year when a lot of the news prior to games has been grim, Gonzaga got a tremendous boost earlier in the week when Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard was ruled eligible immediately. He averaged 11.2 points and 5.6 assists per game as a sophomore for the Gators.
Nembhard solidifies a backcourt headlined by returning starters Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi, both of whom averaged more than 10.5 ppg last season. Kispert is a sharpshooter, making 43.8 percent from 3-point range, while Ayayi chipped in 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
Kansas counters with a pair of returning guards in Marcus Garrett and Ochai Agbaji, a duo that combined for 19.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and three steals per game last season. Garrett displayed great efficiency as a floor general with 4.6 assists to 1.7 turnovers per game.
The downfall for Kansas will be attempting to contain forward Drew Timme, who made 62.1 percent of his shots in a sixth-man role and averaged 9.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and a block per game. With Udoka Azubuike out of eligibility, it leaves David McCormack to hold things down in the paint for Kansas.
These teams were opposites in style of play last season as Gonzaga led the nation in points per game and had the highest percentage of games that went over the total (27 of their 33), while Kansas had just two of its 16 road and neutral court games go Over.
With Gonzaga adding one of the nation’s best freshman recruits in Jalen Suggs to further bolster the guard stable, the Zags should overwhelm a Kansas team that will have a tough time replacing Azubuike.
The play: Gonzaga, -4.