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Prediction for UConn-Gonzaga in Elite 8 of 2023 NCAA Tournament

Erik Buchinger takes you through what he thinks will happen and gives a score prediction for UConn-Gonzaga in the Elite Eight of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament West Regional- Gonzaga vs UCLA Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The nightcap of Saturday’s Elite Eight slate will feature the No. 4 seed UConn Huskies taking on the No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs with the winner headed to the Final Four in Houston. Game time is set for 8:49 p.m. ET from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and can be seen on TBS.

Let’s take a look at the matchup and make a prediction.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

No. 4 UConn vs. No. 3 Gonzaga
Spread: UConn -2
Total: 153.5
Moneyline: UConn -135, Gonzaga +115

No. 4 UConn vs. No. 3 Gonzaga Prediction

UConn rolled through its first three opponents fairly easily to get to this spot winning every game by at least 15 points with an average margin of victory of 20.7 heading into its toughest test of the tournament. After pulling away in Round 1, Gonzaga’s last two matchups went right down to the wire with consecutive three-point victories. While the Huskies have had the more dominant NCAA Tournament, that doesn’t matter much for oddsmakers as they’ll enter Saturday night’s game favored by just two points on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Gonzaga doesn’t hide who it is with an all-offense, sometimes-defense approach. The Bulldogs are at the top nationally in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency but 73rd on the defensive end. UConn has a much more balanced approach as the Huskies are one of just two teams rated inside the top 13 on both ends of the floor.

Believe it or not, Drew Timme has yet another year of eligibility left after this season, but the most recognizable player in college hoops already said this is his final year. He’s having another big year with 21.5 points per game and leads a Gonzaga team that is first in shooting percentage (52%) and 10th from beyond the arc (38.3%).

For all the success on offense, it’s hard to see a reason why the Zags will limit the Huskies, which bring in one of the best offenses in the country. The Bulldogs rank 205th defensively in shooting percentage (44.7%), and defending 3-pointers could become an issue. Gonzaga is 258th in 3-point shooting defense (35.2%), and its style allows for opponents to shoot 23.5 shots per game from deep.

On the other side, UConn gets out on shooters much better, allowing just 16.7 attempts from 3-point range, and it allows 30.3% shots to be made from beyond the arc, which is the 19th lowest nationally. The Huskies should be able to control the glass, led by top rebounder Adam Sanogo, who’s grabbing 7.5 boards per game. The Huskies rate second in the country in total rebounding percentage (56.8%) including third on the offensive glass (37.6%).

Gonzaga’s offense is fantastic, but it’s not so good that it can make up for its faults on the defensive end. The Huskies will advance to the Final Four for the first time since winning it all in 2014.

Prediction: UConn 82, Gonzaga 74