WCC Tournament Semifinal
No. 1 Gonzaga (24-0, 15-0) vs Saint Mary’s (14-8, 4-6)
- Time: 6PM PST | 8PM CST | 9PM EST
- Location: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV
- TV: ESPN
Two of the nation’s top defenses see each other again in one of the nation’s best rivalries as the Bulldogs are looking to continue their perfect season while the Gaels have won three of their last four games.
Gonzaga opens it’s WCC tournament as the Bulldogs have a 14-4 record against Saint Mary’s in the WCC Tournament as the two have met in 11 of the past 13 seasons. The Bulldogs have won eight of the last ten WCC Tournaments.
Saint Mary’s has moved into the finals of the WCC Tournament in four of the last five seasons. As the Gaels are the 4-seed, it is only the second time in the last 18 seasons that SMC has not been a Top 3 seed.
Vs. The Spread
- SMC is 1-5 ATS in it’s last 6 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the Gaels’ last 6 games
- The Gaels are 5-15 ATS in their last 20 games
- The OVER has been the play in the last 5 Bulldogs games
- Gonzaga is 17-3 in it’s last 20 games in March
- The Bulldogs are 11-11-2 ATS this season
Last Time Out
Saint Mary’s used it’s defense to lockdown Loyola Marymount, 52-47, in the Gaels’ opening game on Saturday night. Logan Johnson had 25 points while the Gaels held the Lions to 37.5 percent from the floor and only three triples.
Gonzaga plays it’s first game in nine days as the Bulldogs defeated Loyola Marymount, 86-69, last Saturday. Corey Kispert scored 24 points and hit six threes while Drew Timme added 16. LMU had 19 turnovers despite shooting 49 percent from the floor and out rebounding Gonzaga, 32-21.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Saint Mary’s||+18 (-105)||+950||O 141 (-113)|
|Gonzaga||-18 (-115)||-1800||U 141 (-107)|
Advantage, Saint Mary’s
The team defense of the Gaels is fire as their adjusted defensive efficiency is 12th in the nation, per kenpom.com, which shows in allowing only 61.4 points and 42.4 percent from the floor. They have allowed only 6.3 threes per game in the last four. The reality is that Gonzaga is No. 1 in effective field goal percentage and in adjusted offensive efficiency as the Bulldogs average 92.9 points per game and shoot 53.1 percent from the field. The Gaels must turn this into a possession game as they take 20.2 seconds per offensive possession (345th/NCAA).
Key Gaels Stat:
When you look at the defensive side of the ball and how successful Saint Mary’s has been In five of it’s last six games and then you see the in that period Gonzaga shot 61.1 percent from the field and made 57.1 percent of it’s threes, it is easy to see the wide margin that exists between the two teams. The Bulldogs won that game, 87-65, and they picked up a 73-59 win at Saint Mary’s when they shot 53.8 percent.
Logan Johnson (13.4 ppg, 47.5%) and Tommy Kuhse (12.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg) are coach Randy Bennett’s two most efficient offensive players. Kuhse plays 89 percent of the minutes while Johnson makes 57.7 percent of this two-point shots. Matthias Tass (10.9 ppg) n the paint has been a solid option as well as he shoots 49 percent.
Gonzaga has all the moving parts to become the first team since Indiana in 1976 to go undefeated from wire-to-wire. The Bulldogs obviously want to get Corey Kispert (19.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg), WCC player of the Year in rhythm in transition with Drew Timme (18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg). The athleticism on the perimeter with WCC Freshman of the Year Jalen Suggs, Joe Ayayi, and WCC Sixth Man of the Year Andrew Nembhard will once again get the Gaels out of their comfort zone on both ends of the floor. Anton Watson has had a solid year in the paint as he shoots 64.9 percent and then Aaron Cook has been a key contributor across the boards in averaging 14 minutes per game.
Key Bulldogs Stat:
Don’t underestimate the Bulldogs on the defensive end of the floor. They have been an efficient solid defensive attack as BYU is the only team to shoot over 41 percent in the last nine games as the Cougars shot 48.3 percent and Gonzaga still posted a double digit win, 82-71. The Bulldogs force 15.7 turnover per game and work to accrue those on 8.6 steals per outing.
The drive, the focus, the determination. Coach Mark Few has an older team that is mature and with the experience come a depth in the three aforementioned characteristics. With the potential of eight more wins and an undefeated season, Kispert and company bring a sense of professionalism to each game which is a huge dynamic in being a championship team.
Winner: Gonzaga (-18) 83, Saint Mary’s 62