Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s Pick – February 11th

Is tonight the night the final unbeaten team in the country takes their first blemish?  Don't be surprised if St. Mary's gives the Zags a little payback for their earlier blowout loss...

We took just our fifth loss in 18 college hoops picks on TheSportsGeek as the Dayton Flyers took control of the Atlantic 10 with a clutch late bucket to grab a road win in Rhode Island.  The Flyers all but locked up their Tourney bid, while the loss leaves Rhode Island very much on the dreaded bubble.

And speaking of Bubble, there are at LEAST a dozen games with Bubble Impact today on a loaded Saturday of college action.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Kentucky at Alabama – Noon, CBS
  • Minnesota at Rutgers – Noon, ESPNU
  • NC State at Wake Forest – Noon, ACCN
  • Kansas State at West Virginia – Noon, ESPN
  • Seton Hall at St. John’s – Noon, CBSS
  • Marquette at Georgetown – Noon, FoxS
  • Syracuse at Pitt – 1pm ACCN
  • Miami at Louisville – 2pm, ESPN2
  • TCU at Baylor – 2pm, ESPNU
  • Kansas at Texas Tech – 2pm, ESPNN
  • Georgia at Tennessee – 4pm, ESPNU
  • Texas at Oklahoma St – 4pm, ESPN2
  • Ohio State at Maryland – 4pm, ESPN
  • Washington at Utah – 4pm, FS1
  • Boston College at GA Tech – 5:30 ACCN
  • Auburn at Ole Miss – 6pm, SECN
  • Iowa at Michigan St. – 6pm, BTN
  • Oklahoma at Iowa St. – 6pm, ESPN2
  • Cal at Arizona – 10pm, ESPN2
  • Oregon at USC – 10:30pm, PAC12

The point is – there is a TON of important action today and lots of games to view and potentially wager upon.  Have a great day, manage your bankroll – no “get back” or “get greedy” late night west-coasters (it never goes well) and have some fun!

Here’s my favorite game, not just line, but GAME, on the entire slate.

Today’s NCAA Basketball Pick:

Gonzaga Bulldogs -4.5 at St. Mary’s Gaels

All season long we’ve been hearing about how Gonzaga will likely lose a game along the way, and if they haven’t then the trip to St. Mary’s will be the stumbling block.  Well, they haven’t.  And here we are.

So is this the night the nation’s lone unbeaten finally falls?

Maybe.  Maybe not.  But the odds are certainly not reflective of the original perception, and I think national polling is a major reason why.  They are “#1” now, despite only beating one decent team in the last seven weeks. Before the season, we thought (collectively) that this was St. Mary’s game and Gonzaga’s probable loss.  When looking ahead just a month ago, this was the game Gonzaga falls.

St. Mary’s has ripped through the WCC conference with similar aplomb to Gonzaga.  They are 22-2 overall with the loss AT Gonzaga and a hard-fought single possession road loss at Dayton back in November.  They are 12-1 in conference play with 11 of the wins coming by double digits.  They have veterans, size and depth and are a legit Sweet 16 or deeper team talent-wise.  They are also at home for the biggest game in the program in years and years – perhaps since the Dellavedova team hosted a similarly high-profile Zag squad.

This is a tar-pit for Gonzaga, and don’t be the least bit surprised if they finally take a loss tonight.  Either way, with a Top 10-15 level team at home AND four and a half points, the VALUE is clearly on the side of the Gaels tonight.

Gonzaga is perfect at 25-0 and have ripped through the conference.  But in their highest profile games, they have been pushed.  Arizona, Iowa State and Florida were right there, and neither Arizona or UF were even close to the teams they have become since those early-season games.

Look for a great game and an intense atmosphere.  I’ll take the home team, a very good team to boot, and the healthy points.  If there were no national polls, just evaluating these two teams on merit, resume, etc. this line would NEVER be Zags -4.5  Yes, they are still really good and a deserving #1 – even WITH a loss tonight.  But St. Mary’s is really good too, and not a five point dog at home to anyone.

Today’s Pick:  St. Mary’s Gaels +4.5