It is quite possible that the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament will also go into the post-season undefeated. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are at the top of both major polls, and have gotten there by way of attrition, because all the other top schools have lost recently. If they can stay unblemished over the rest of their West Coast Conference schedule, then through the conference tournament, there is no doubt that they will at least be a top regional seed, although many people are kind of skeptical about their ability to go all the way. On Saturday night they face a major challenge when they face off against St. Mary’s Gaels in a game beginning at 8:15 PM ET on ESPN. After the opening tip-off, BetAnySports customers can take advantage of Live Betting Ultra to make wagers in real time.
Gonzaga is 25-0, and is not like they got there by way of a soft schedule; they not only beat Florida, Arizona and Tennessee, but they were also administered a 79-56 pasting on this St. Mary’s crew back on January 14. In that game, Gonzaga shut 65% from the field. Make no mistake about it; they get it done at both ends of the floor. They are third in the nation in Effective Field Goal Percentage, and they make 58.2% of their two-point shots, which is fifth-best nationwide. They also are second-best in field goal percentage defense, limiting their opposition to just 37%. This is a complete team, and they not only have stars, they also have size, with two seven-footers they can put on the floor at any time.
In the NCAA basketball betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports
, Gonzaga is a road favorite:
Gonzaga Bulldogs -3
St. Mary’s Gaels +3
Over 133 points -110
Under 133 points -110
One of the keys for Gonzaga is that guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who had been hampered with an ankle injury, came back to the lineup this past week, with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Loyola Marymount in the Zags’ 30-point victory. Yes, this team has mostly coasted in conference play, winning by an average of almost 26 points, and nobody has got to within double digits in WCC competition.
So can St. Mary’s overcome all of this? Well, they did score a sweep over Gonzaga in last year’s regular-season slate, beating them 70-67 at the McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, but then they lost in the season-ending conference tournament to spoil things a bit. BetAnySports patrons know that they are not coming off their best performance, beating Portland only 51-41 on Thursday, perhaps looking ahead to this showdown.
One of the characteristics of St. Mary’s is that they like to control the tempo. And when we say that, we mean it. The Gaels are the slowest team in the country, as documented through KenPom.com, the respected analytics site, where they are dead last in Adjusted Tempo. They look to get the ball inside to their center, 6-11 Jock Landale, but obviously Gonzaga hasthe two 7-footers, Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins, ready to contest him underneath. It has been a tall order (pardon the pun) for them to replace the likes of Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis from last year’s team, and they really haven’t done that, but those people still supply defensive presence while this team operates from the outside.
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