San Francisco Dons (18-14) at Gonzaga Bulldogs (28-4)
Our win yesterday almost seemed too easy. We backed the Michigan Wolverines against the Purdue Boilermakers in the finals of the Big 10 tournament from Madison Square Garden. The Wolverines might be the hottest team in the country right now and still managed to come into this game as +3.5-point underdogs.
I snatched up the points and expected a close game. But in reality, the game wasn’t all that close. The Wolverines jumped out to a first-half lead and slowly extended it all afternoon long, eventually winning the game outright 75-66.
I said it yesterday, and I will say it again today, tournament basketball is all about getting hot and staying hot and riding that momentum. There is a reason that the Final Four is never all one seeds, teams get hot, and that is what it is about in March.
Keep a very close eye on this Michigan team when you are filling out your brackets next week, they could win it all. Today I will look at another conference tournament game, this time the semi-finals of the WCC tournament, when San Francisco looks to knock off top seed Gonzaga.
The San Francisco Dons will be playing for their season tonight as they play against perennial conference champion Gonzaga in the semi-finals of the WCC tournament from Las Vegas. San Francisco must win tonight to keep their season alive as they don’t have a strong enough resume to be considered for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament this year.
For Gonzaga, it is business as usual in the WCC tournament. This is basically their home away from home as they have made the finals of the WCC tournament every year since 1997. The Zags are -13-point favorites. The game total over-under is set at 140.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
This Gonzaga Bulldogs team was expected to be good, just not this good. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year in Spokane. The Zags lost Zach Collins and Nigel Williams-Goss to the draft and were going to have to rely on some young guys to get the job done this year. Conference rival St. Mary’s was the unanimous coach’s pick to win the WCC this year.
Yet here we are. With Gonzaga winning another WCC regular season title and poised for another high seed in the NCAA tournament. The Zags are well balanced and featured three seven footers that can all stretch the floor.
Big man Killian Tilly showed off his range in the WCC quarterfinals as he went 5-5 from deep. Not many seven footers can shoot it that well from beyond the arc, and he is a matchup nightmare for any team trying to beat Gonzaga. They need to stay on their best game tonight to avoid a costly upset against a game San Francisco team.
This San Francisco Don’s team has been an enigma all year long. They really don’t do much well. They are amongst the worst shooting and scoring teams in the nation. They don’t rebound or pass the ball well, and they turn it over a lot. Yet somehow this team seems to win a lot of games and are almost always competitive no matter what team they are playing against.
The Dons played the Zags twice this season, and both games were competitive. They lost 75-65 at home in the first meeting this season and managed to even outscore the Zags in the second half. They then lost to Gonzaga 82-73 in Spokane in another closer than expected game. The Dons record this year against Gonzaga? 0-2. The Dons record against the spread against Gonzaga this year? 2-0.
This number is too big. Plain and simple. Could the Zags beat this team by twenty if they really wanted to? Probably. But why would they play hard down the stretch if this game is under control when they know they have a likely matchup with St Mary’s College in the WCC finals looming? A St Mary’s team that beat them in Spokane earlier this year. They won’t.
The Dons have beat the spread in both matchups this year against Gonzaga, and I would expect them to do that once again tonight. The Zags have a history of close calls early in this tournament, but always seem to manage to get the job done, so I don’t think they need to be on upset alert tonight. But laying -13 points is just too much in a game where head coach Mark Few is likely to take his foot off the gas if they get a big lead.
This game means absolutely everything for San Francisco and basically nothing to Gonzaga. Yeah, the Zags want to win, but if they were somehow to lose, it would only hurt their seeding a bit, they are a tournament team either way. I see a game where Gonzaga jumps out early and holds on late for an 8-10-point victory. Feels like 82-71 if you ask me.
Give me the San Francisco Dons +13-points tonight from Las Vegas!