Familiar WCC Tourney Foes
Gonzaga has lost just three times in the West Coast Conference tournament since 2009 and each of those defeats were at the hands of Saint Mary’s. The Gaels beat the Bulldogs in the 2010, 2012 and 2019 title games. This is the 10th time in the last 14 seasons that the teams will meet in the WCC final.
Gonzaga’s 25 straight conference tournament appearances are the longest active streak among Division I men’s programs. The Bulldogs are looking for their 20th WCC tournament title. The Bulldogs are 10-3 in WCC title games played in Las Vegas.
Gonzaga will be playing in its 25th straight conference championship game this evening.
No other team over the last 40 seasons has a streak longer than 11 (Murray State). pic.twitter.com/c0QXdBAYhN
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 8, 2022
Gonzaga will be a No. 1 seed in the March Madness bracket regardless of what happens on Tuesday. A win should wrap up the No. 1 overall seed. Gonzaga is No. 1 in the NCAA NET rankings and also first in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Saint Mary’s is also comfortably in the NCAA Tournament. Some March Madness predictions have the Gaels as a No. 4 seed. Saint Mary’s aided by the win over Gonzaga last month, is 18th in the NCAA NET rankings.
Gonzaga (+450) has the best odds to win the national championship while Saint Mary’s comes in at +10000.
Saint Mary’s Looking to Slay Goliath Once Again
With the way Gonzaga has been rolling through the West Coast Conference, there didn’t figure to be much hoopla surrounding the WCC tournament. That all changed on Feb. 26 when Saint Mary’s shocked the No. 1 ranked team in the country 67-57. Gonzaga had won 34 straight conference games, with 33 coming by double figures.
The upset didn’t get as much national attention as it could have since the Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9 teams in the Associated Press Top 25 poll also lost that day.
Now the teams are set to meet for the first time since that game. Saint Mary’s outrebounded Gonzaga and only allowed the Bulldogs to attempt nine foul shots.
The Gaels almost squandered the chance for the rematch, seeing its 10-point lead with seven minutes remaining cut to one with 44 seconds to play. It took a Logan Johnson blocked shot with six seconds left to wrap by a three-point win over Santa Clara on Monday night. Tommy Kuhse had 27 points to lead the Gaels. It was the third time in the last five games that Kuhse had more than 20 points. He has averaged 19.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists over those last four games.
Four of the last six Saint Mary’s games went over the Las Vegas odds total.
Timme Can Deliver Another Title for Gonzaga
Coming off a rare single-digit scoring game, Gonzaga’s Drew Timme was back to his high-scoring ways when the favorites in the West Coast Conference Tournament hit the court.
Timme had 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go with four rebounds and four assists as Gonzaga advanced to the WCC final for the 25th season in a row.
Gonzaga relied on the duo of the 6-foot-10 Timme and 7-foot Chet Holmgren to score inside early and often. Gonzaga was up by 22 points in the second half before San Francisco cut the lead to nine with 2:56 left to play, but the Bulldogs held on for the 81-71 win to return to the WCC title game.
Gonzaga is the nation’s top-scoring team but it didn’t have a field goal in the last 5:33 in the WCC semifinal. That followed a season-low 57 points in the loss to Saint Mary’s in the Bulldogs’ last game of the regular season.
One issue is a lack of production from the perimeter. Gonzaga had a stretch when it made at least 10 3-pointers 10 times in a 16-game stretch. In the last two games, the Bulldogs are 8 of 28 on 3-pointers. The Bulldogs made 11 3-pointers in the two games this season against the Gaels so connecting from downtown won’t be easy.
Gonzaga has covered against the college basketball spreads in just one of its last five games.
Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga Head-to-Head
Gonzaga had won seven games in a row against Saint Mary’s, including a 74-58 victory on Feb. 12 as a 16-point home favorite, before the Gaels stunned the WCC juggernaut with a 67-57 win at home on Feb. 26 as a 10½-point underdog.
It was the third straight game in the series to go under the total.
The teams haven’t played a game decided by less than 10 points since 2018.
The March Madness odds won’t be impacted too much if Gonzaga loses a second straight to Saint Mary’s, although the Gaels’ odds could improve significantly with a win.
Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga Game Information
- Game: Saint Mary’s (25-6) vs. Gonzaga (25-3)
- Location: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Day/Time: Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN
Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga Betting Lines
Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga Prediction
It’s pretty hard to pick against the No. 1 team in the country, although Saint Mary’s is certainly a worthy opponent.
Gonzaga is first and Saint Mary’s third in the WCC in scoring margin while the Bulldogs lead the conference in both field goal percentage offense and defense.
The 12½-point line is rather interesting, as is the 140-point total. That is a signal to those who bet online that the Gaels might get the game played at their pace instead of letting the top-scoring team in the country take control.
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