The Saint Mary’s Gaels and Gonzaga Bulldogs meet in the West Coast Conference Championship at the Orleans in Las Vegas. Last night, Saint nearly blew it against the Santa Clara Broncos.
They took control early, but allowed things to go astray late in the second-half. The Gaels double-digit lead evaporated to 3 points. Saint Mary’s held on for a 75-72 win, with the game ending on a last-second heave from deep.
— Saint Mary's Hoops (@saintmaryshoops) March 8, 2022
It was a valiant effort from Santa Clara to make a game out of what looked like it was going to develop into a blowout. Unfortunately, the game was far too gone for Santa Clara. Tommy Kuhse came through with 27 points to lead Saint Mary’s.
The Gaels advanced to the West Coast Championship for a rematch against Gonzaga with the win. Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga met in the regular season finale on Saturday. Saint Mary’s emerged with a 67-57 win over the rivals.
They had nothing to play for, and the Bulldogs might have just put that game on cruise control before the WCC Tournament.
Gonzaga woke up for San Francisco, as they cleared the Dons for an 81-71 win. It was by far the worst performance that Gonzaga executed this season.
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) March 8, 2022
The Bulldogs didn’t react to the fullcourt press too well, with 10 minutes remaining in the game. The vaunted Gonzaga offense went lifeless. Somehow the game stayed UNDER the total because of Gonzaga going ice cold.
Gonzaga must be better prepared for teams pressing their offense. That starts with tonight in the West Coast Championship. Head below for our free Saint Mary’s vs. Gonzaga prediction on March 8, 2022.
Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting Odds and Team Statistics:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Saint Mary’s Gaels||+12.5 (-108)||+615||Over 140.5 (-110)|
|Gonzaga Bulldogs||-12.5 (-112)||-850||Under 140.5 (-110)|
|Team Data||Saint Mary’s Gaels||Gonzaga Bulldogs|
|Points Per Game||69.6||66.3|
|Points Against Per Game||59.4||65.0|
|Field Goal %||46.2||52.4|
|Three Point %||34.9||37.8|
Saint Mary’s vs. Gonzaga Prediction:
Saint Mary’s has to be concerned that the Gonzaga they saw the other day isn’t going to be the same team tonight.
It’s a good thing if they feel a bit on edge, because if Saint Mary’s expects the same effort from the Bulldogs, this is how it could turn into a blowout.
The Gaels can’t afford to get complacent and not look to improve on that performance. Containing Gonzaga to less than 60 points again isn’t realistic. They will have to get their offense on the move in this one.
While I have confidence that Gonzaga is going to be much better offensively than in that meeting, it’s hard to suggest that Saint Mary’s will shoot the lights out at the Orleans Arena tonight.
They will have to do that, but I don’t see it. The Gaels are 215th in the NCAA with 69.6 points per game. They aren’t a team that relies on their offensive efficiency.
Their defense can be strong, with 59.4 points against per game, which is the fourth-best in the country. However, Gonzaga will be better prepared to counter their defense this time.
Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren were both held to fewer than 10 points. That’s not going to happen in the WCC Championship.
Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting Trends:
- 2-6 ATS in their previous eight games on a neutral court
- 6-13-1 ATS in their previous 20 games versus Gonzaga
- 0-5 ATS in their previous five games in March
- 1-7 overall in their previous eight games versus Gonzaga
- 8-3-1 ATS in their previous 12 games versus a team with a winning record
- 19-1 overall in their previous 20 games versus the West Coast Conference
- 13-6-1 ATS in their previous 20 games versus Saint Mary’s
- 9-1 overall in their previous ten games
- UNDER is 7-1 in their previous eight games as a betting favorite
- UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five games versus Saint Mary’s
Gonzaga had their worst game in a long time against Saint Mary’s. They didn’t look interested, and it showed on the floor and scoreboard. This is not going to happen tonight.
The Bulldogs are the best in the NCAA with an average of 88.3 points per game and a 52.4% field goal percentage. The Saint Mary’s offense is likely to hold the Gaels down, though.
Gonzaga can play defense, especially versus West Coast teams. They are third in the NCAA, with a 37.6% FGA. Going into this one, the Bulldogs have allowed 65 points against per game.
The public will back Saint Mary’s getting double digits, but it looks like a trap spot. After doing nothing last week, look for Timme and Holmgren to excel in the West Coast Championship. Gonzaga comes to play and wins a 79-63 game to cover and win the conference championship.