WCC Final: Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Saint Mary’s 3/8 NCAAB Pick, Odds, and Prediction
At the beginning of the season, it may have seemed inconceivable that the Gonzaga Bulldogs would be left out of the NCAA Tournament, especially with the array of talent they possessed. But that may be precisely the case for them, as they step onto the floor for the championship game of the West Coast Conference against the Saint Mary’s Gaels, who in the recent past have perhaps not received enough respect from the NCAA Selection Committee.
The game will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, with tipoff scheduled for 9 PM ET, and after that whistle blows, BetAnySports patrons can continue to wager against the basketball odds, in real time, through the considerable facilities of Live Betting Extra.
Saint Mary’s (27-4 SU, 17-10 ATS) is ranked #23 in the country by the USA Today coaches’ poll. Gonzaga (25-7 straight-up, 13-15 against the basketball pointspread) is unranked in either poll. These teams technically tied for the top spot in the WCC’s regular season standings, but the Gaels won both meetings between the two, so they got the top seed in the tourney.
What that meant is that they were able to play the early game on Monday – a solid 81-66 victory over Pepperdine. meanwhile, Gonzaga had to struggle in the later game against BYU before finally emerging with an 88-84 win. What this amounts to is that Saint Mary’s will have to complete a three-game sweep of Gonzaga to win the tournament, while Gonzaga will quite possibly have to avoid that dubious distinction to play their way into the NCAA Tournament.
In the basketball odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Gonzaga is the favored team:
Can Saint Mary’s get an at-large berth even if they lose? Well, there would seem to be a possibility of that happening, although one can never trust the way the Committee is going to look at WCC basketball. Certainly that is one of the factors involved in the ‘Zags playing the favorite’s role here – that this would appear to be much more of a “must” game for them.
The Bulldogs come to the table with a lot more size in the persons of 6-10 Kyle Wiltjer (a Kentucky transfer) and 6-11 Domantas Sabonis (the son of international legend and former NBA standout Arvydas Sabonis), and when you have two players of that size with talent, you are going to have a decided edge over most teams. But believe it or not, they probably miss 7-1 Przemek Karnowski, who had modest numbers (8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds) but did a lot of dirty work, and who suffered a season-ending back injury.
As BetAnySports patrons undoubtedly know, when you have those bulky guys up front, there is a flip side to it, and the ‘Zags sometimes have a great deal of difficulty on defense working around pick-and-roll offenses. That is something Saint Mary’s is going to show them. But before you go off on that too much, consider that for the season, Gonzaga has surrendered just 29% shooting from beyond the arc. They’d seem well-suited to dealing with the Gaels and their 41% accuracy rate from downtown, although Saint Mary’s shot a respectable 13-for-33 (39.4%) in the two meetings. In fact, Gonzaga came up cold from three-point range in their 63-58 loss in Spokane on February 20, making just five out of 26 shots.
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