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No. 24 Memphis hosts No. 23 Gonzaga Saturday
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 2/8/2014  at  5:34:00 AM
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FedEx Forum - Memphis, TN
Tip-off: Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Memphis -4.5, Total: 144

No. 23 Gonzaga and No. 24 Memphis will take a brief break from conference play on Saturday night for what should be an exciting non-league game between two high-scoring teams.

The Bulldogs (11-11 ATS) have gone 21-3 SU, but have not faced a ranked team all season. Their three defeats came to Dayton, Kansas State and Portland, but they have now won seven in a row, going 4-3 ATS in that span. Gonzaga went 4-6 ATS (10-2 SU) in non-conference play this season, and is 5-2 ATS (6-1 SU) on the road. The Tigers are coming off a 101-69 demolition of Rutgers on Tuesday, avenging a disappointing 87-72 loss at SMU three days earlier. They are 3-1 ATS (2-2 SU) against ranked opponents this year, beating then-No. 5 Oklahoma State and then-No. 12 Louisville. Memphis is 12-7 ATS overall this season, including 5-4 ATS (10-2 SU) in non-conference play and 4-5 ATS (10-2 SU) at home. These two teams are meeting for the first time in three campaigns, but had matched up in six straight seasons with Memphis going 5-1 SU (3-3 ATS) in those six contests. Memphis won the most recent meeting on Feb. 5, 2011 in Spokane by a 62-58 score.

Which ranked team will pick up a resume-building win on Saturday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 59% ATS (193-135-6) mark, including a stellar 62% ATS (161-101-5) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 64% ATS (42-24-2) in Best Bets for the season and 67% ATS (35-17-1) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (40-26-1) for the season and 68% ATS (23-11) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Scott is a hefty 59% ATS (39-27-1) for the season and 62% ATS (29-18-1) since Dec. 2. StatFox Zach is a strong 58% ATS (37-27-3) on Best Bets this season, including 61% ATS (31-20-2) since Nov. 22, while StatFox Gary is 53% ATS (35-31-2) for the season, and 57% ATS (29-22) since Nov. 29.

Gonzaga averages 78.9 PPG (32nd in Div. I) on a whopping 50.3% FG (4th in nation), including making a whopping 41.8% of its three-point tries (2nd in Div. I). On the boards, the Bulldogs outrebound their opponents by 4.2 RPG, while opponents average 65.9 PPG on just 39.7% FG (31st in nation) and 32.6% threes. SG Kevin Pangos (15.3 PPG, 4.1 APG) paces the offense, taking deft care of the ball with only 1.5 turnovers per game and a 2.8 Ast/TO ratio. He hits 43% of his threes, but has just 8.7 PPG (3-for-12 threes) in his past three games. Fellow SG Gary Bell (11.9 PPG) is also a strong three-point shooter, making 46% of his treys, but scored just two points in 33 minutes in Wednesday's 71-66 win over Portland. PG David Stockton (7.4 PPG, 4.0 APG) rounds out the backcourt and isnít much of a scorer, but he is second on the team in assists and tops the team with 1.6 SPG. He played poorly that 2011 meeting with Memphis as a freshman, going scoreless (0-for-3 FG) with three assists and three turnovers before fouling out in 23 minutes of action in that defeat. PF Sam Dower (14.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG) was also a non-factor in that game with four points and three rebounds in 15 minutes. But this season, Dower is the team go-to player in the post, making a career-best 60% of his shots. He has scored in double-figures in nine straight games, averaging 17.3 PPG during this run. Dower is helped defensively by 7-foot-1 sophomore C Przemek Karnowski (9.8 PPG, 57% FG, 7.5 RPG) who is the teamís top rebounder and shot blocker with 1.9 BPG. Over the teamís past three contests, heís averaging 8.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 3.7 BPG.

Memphisí offense racks up 80.7 PPG (25th in Div. I) on 48.5% FG (18th in nation), but shoots poorly from long range with a 33.7% three-point clip. The Tigers are one of the top passing offenses in the nation with 17.9 APG (3rd in Div. I), but also turn the ball over 13.2 times per game. They grab 38.4 RPG (39th in nation) and outrebound their opponents by 2.8 RPG, with their defense giving up 69.8 PPG (169th in Div. I) on 43.4% FG. Five Memphis players average at least 1.3 SPG, helping the team rank fourth nationally with 9.6 SPG, and the team also tallies 4.5 BPG (87th in Div. I). Senior PG Joe Jackson (14.6 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.4 RPG) leads the Tigers in scoring and passing, also adding a team-high 2.0 SPG. Jackson has scored in double-figures in 20-of-22 games this season, and is averaging 19.0 PPG (13-of-21 FG) and 7.0 APG, 4.5 RPG and 3.0 SPG in his past two games. Although he started against Gonzaga in the last meeting in 2011, Jackson played just six minutes that day, going 0-for-2 with two turnovers. SG Michael Dixon Jr. (11.5 PPG, 47% FG) is the teamís second best backcourt scorer despite playing only 22.1 MPG. He is one of the only good shooters on the team, making 40% of his treys, and over the past three games, Dixon has averaged 13.3 PPG on 7-of-14 threes and 13-of-13 free throws. SGs Geron Johnson (9.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.0 APG) and Chris Crawford (9.0 PPG, 40.3% threes, 4.0 RPG) are also important role players on the perimeter. The teamís third and final double-digit scorer is PF Shaq Goodwin (12.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 BPG), who makes the best of his chances down low with a 62% shooting clip. He gets important help on the glass from freshman PF Austin Nichols (8.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG), who posted 18 points on 8-of-9 FG with three blocks in the teamís rout of Rutgers on Tuesday.

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