WCC Showdown: Gonzaga Bulldogs at St. Mary’s Gaels

#23 Gonzaga Bulldogs at St. Mary’s Gaels
McKeon Pavilion – Moraga, California
Thursday, January 12, 2012, 11:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: St. Mary’s -3
Current Line: St. Mary’s -4
Opening Total: 141 1/2
Current Total:142
Opening Money Line: St. Mary’s -165 / Gonzaga +145
Current Money Line: St. Mary’s -180 / Gonzaga +160

Rob Jones and St. Mary's host arch-rival Gonzaga Thursday night in a battle for first place in the WCC. The Gaels are 4 point favorites at home.

Gonzaga and St. Mary’s have been the top two teams in the West Coast Conference for a long time. It was thought that with BYU joining the conference that the Cougars could challenge for WCC superiority. They still might but right now Gonzaga and St. Mary’s are the only 2 undefeated teams in the WCC. Gonzaga is 13-2 overall and 3-0 in the WCC. The Bulldogs have won 8 straight games. St. Mary’s is 15-2 overall and 4-0 in conference. The Gaels have won 6 straight games. Gonzaga leads the series 53-25 against St. Mary’s, and has won 32 of the last 39 meetings. Each team won on the other’s home court, and Gonzaga beat St. Mary’s in the WCC Championship game in Las Vegas last March 75-63. The two schools were tied for the WCC regular season title last year, breaking a string of 8 straight outright titles for the Bulldogs.

Gonzaga is coached by Mark Few. The only losses for the Bulldogs came at Illinois and at home against Michigan St in back to back games. Gonzaga has wins over Washington St, Hawaii, Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Oral Roberts, Arizona, Butler, Air Force, Portland, Xavier, Pepperdine, and at home against Santa Clara Saturday 82-60.

St. Mary’s is coached by Randy Bennett. The Gaels have losses to Denver and Baylor this season. St. Mary’s has wins over Northern Iowa, Weber St, Cal Poly, Missouri St, BYU, Pepperdine, San Diego, and San Francisco 87-72 Monday night.

Gonzaga is outscoring opponents 75-62 this season. The Bulldogs are shooting 46.2% from the field including 39.1% from 3 point range. Gonzaga is shooting 69.6% from the free throw line. The Bulldogs average 37.7 rebounds a game, and has a rebounding margin of +7. Gonzaga averages 14 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 7.5 steals, and 3.5 blocks a games. Gonzaga opponents are shooting 41.1% from the field, including 32.5% from 3 point range. Gonzaga forces 14.5 turnovers a game.

Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos is averaging 14.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists , and 1.1 steals a game. Pangos leads the Bulldogs in scoring and assists, and is tied for the team lead in steals with 1.1 a game, and is making 40% of his 3 point shots. Elias Harris averages 12.7 points, 7.7 rebounds to lead the team, 1.1 assists and 0.8 blocks a game. Center Robert Sacre is averaging 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1 assists, and 1.5 blocks a game to lead the team. Sam Dower scores 9.5 points and Gary Bell scores 9.2 points  a game. David Stockton is the son of Gonzaga legend and NBA Hall-Of-Famer John Stockton, and averages 5.9 points and 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Marquise Carter is tied for the team lead in steals with Pangos and Stockton.

St. Mary’s is outscoring opponents 77-60 this season. The Gaels are shooting 48.2% from the field and 36.8% from 3 point range. St. Mary’s makes 73.2% of their free throws. The Gaels average 38.1 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +9. St. Mary’s averages 17.3 assists, 12.1 turnovers, 8 steals, and 3.6 blocks a game. Gael opponents are shooting 40.3% from the field, and 34.1% from 3 point range. St. Mary’s forces 12.6 turnovers a game.

St. Mary’s forward Rob Jones averages 15.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks a game. He leads the Gaels in scoring, rebounds and is tied for the team lead in blocks. Jones shoots 38.1% from 3 point range. Matthew Dellavedova averages 15.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 6.5 assists to lead the team,. He makes 39% of his 3 point shots. Stephen Holt averages 9.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2 steals a game to lead the team. Jorden Page averages 8.9 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game. Clint Steindl averages 8.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists a game. Reserve forwards Kenton Walker III and Eividas Petrulis are both questionable for this game. Guard Paul McCoy is out for the season.

St. Mary’s is 7-4 against the spread and the total is 7-4 this season. Gonzaga is 9-6 ATS and the total is 4-10-1 this season. Gonzaga is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 against St. Mary’s. The road team has covered the last 4 in the series, and 5 of the last 6 in Moraga have gone over the total. The Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS after a straight up win, overall, and in WCC games, 4-1 after a cover, and against teams with winning records, 7-2 in road games, 6-2 in road games against teams with winning home records, and 5-2 as a road underdog. The Gaels are 6-1 ATS at home, and as a home favorite, 4-1 after failing to cover, 7-2 as a favorite, 6-2 against teams with winning records, 11-4 as a home favorite of 6.5 points or less, 7-3 overall, and 1-4-1 in Thursday games.

These two teams are very evenly matched statistically. Both teams are red hot as well. This should be a great game, and looks like a toss-up. I would take the points with Gonzaga.

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