West Coast Conference Championship: St. Mary’s Gaels vs #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs

2013 West Coast Conference Championship Game
#2 St. Mary’s Gaels vs #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Monday, March 11, 2013, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Orleans Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada
Opening Line: Gonzaga -5
Current Line: Gonzaga -6
Opening Total: 137 1/2
Current Total: 136
Opening Money Line: Gonzaga -210 / St. Mary’s +180
Current Money Line: Gonzaga -300 / St. Mary’s +250

Gonzaga is a 6 point favorite against arch rival St Mary's is Monday's WCC Championship game in Las Vegas.
Gonzaga is a 6 point favorite against arch rival St Mary’s is Monday’s WCC Championship game in Las Vegas.

The #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs are one win away from securing a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament and perhaps even the #1 overall seed. They will face a familiar foe in the St. Mary’s Gaels. the two schools will meet in the West Coast Conference Championship game for the fifth straight year. The Bulldogs are 27-2 this season and have won 13 straight games. They went 16-0 in the West Coast Conference. St. Mary’s is 27-5 this season and went 14-2 in the WCC. The Gaels are likely in the NCAA tournament whether they win or lose this game.

St. Mary’s won both the WCC regular season title and beat Gonzaga in the final of the WCC tournament. It was the first time 12 years that Gonzaga didn’t win either the regular season title or the WCC tournament. St. Mary’s has won 2 of the last 3 tournaments.   Gonzaga is making their 16th straight appearance in the final. Gonzaga holds a  narrow 5-4 advantage in the last 9 meetings between the teams. The Bulldogs won both meetings this season 83-78 in Spokane January 10 and 77-60 on Valentine’s Day in Moraga.

St. Mary’s is coached by Randy Bennett. The Gaels have additional losses to Pacific and Georgia Tech in a tournament in Anaheim, and at Northern Iowa. St. Mary’s has won 6 straight games. The Gaels have key wins at Utah St, Drexel in Anaheim, Cal Poly, at Drake, Pacific, Rhode Island, Yale, Harvard, BYU twice, and Santa Clara twice. Gonzaga, St. Mary’s BYU and Santa Clara were the only teams above .500 in the WCC. The Gaels got a bye in the semifinals along with Gonzaga. St. Mary’s beat  #6 seed San Diego 69-66 in overtime in Saturday’s semifinals. The Gaels are 15-12-1 ATS this season and the total is 10-12.

St. Mary’s is outscoring teams 76-63 this season. The Gaels are #21 in scoring nationally. St. Mary’s is shooting 47.8% from the field and 37.9% from 3 point range. The Gaels are  34th or better in both categories. St. Mary’s makes 72.5% of their free throws. The Gaels average 37.3 rebounds per game and give up 25.5 per game. The Gaels are #3 in rebounds allowed. St. Mary’s opponents are shooting 41.7% from the field and 37.8% from 3 point range. The Gaels are #331 in 3 point defense out of 347 teams. St. Mary’s averages 15 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocks and 12 turnovers.

Guard Matthew Dellavedova averages 16.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Guard Stephen Holt averages 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Forward Beau Levesque averages 10.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Brad Waldow lost a tooth in Saturday’s game but he is probable. He averages 10.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 0-9 blocks per game. Mitchell Young averages 7.7 points, and 5.6 rebounds. James Walker III and Jorden Page average around 6.6 points a game. Matt Hodgson and Jordan Giusti also get minutes in the rotation. Forward Tim Williams is out for the season with a leg injury.

Gonzaga is coached by Mark Few. The Bulldogs have losses at home to Illinois and at Butler. Gonzaga has won 10 straight games since the Butler loss. The Bulldogs have key wins over West Virginia at home, Clemson, Oklahoma & Davidson in a tournament in Orlando, Pacific, at Washington St, Kansas St in Seattle, Baylor, at Oklahoma St, and swept the WCC. Gonzaga beat #9 seed Loyola Marymount 66-48 in the semis Saturday. Despite winnign only one conference game in the regular season, the Lions put on a game effort against Gonzage, and were only down one point at the half. however, the fatigue of playing 4 games in 4 nights was too much for the Lions and Gonzaga pulled away at the end.    The Bulldogs are 16-12-2 ATS and the total is 8-18-1 this season.

Gonzaga is outscoring teams 78-60. The Bulldogs are #12 in scoring nationally, and #31 in points allowed. Gonzaga is #3 in field goal percentage making 50.3% of their shots, and is shooting 37.3% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs make 70.4% of their free throws. Gonzaga averages 37.4 rebounds, and give up 25.8 per game. The Bulldogs are #8 in rebounds allowed nationally. Gonzaga opponents are shooting 38.2% from the field and 32.2% from 3 point range. Gonzaga is #12 in opponent’s field goal percentage. The Bulldogs average 15 assists, 8 steals, 3 blocks, and 11 turnovers per game.

Gonzaga forward Kelly Olynyk averages 17.3 points, 7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. Forward Elias Harris averages 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals. Guard Kevin Pangos averages 11.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Gary Bell, Jr. averages 9.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. Forward/center Sam Dower averages 7.2 points, and 2.8 rebounds per game. Przemek Karnowski averages 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Guy Landry Edi, David Stockton, Kyle Dranginis, and Mike Hart make up the rest of the rotation.

St Mary’s is 8-3 ATS in Monday games, and 5-2-1 after a straight up win.

Gonzaga is 8-0 ATS after failing to cover, 3-0-1 against a team with a winning record, 3-1-1 after a straight up win, overall, and against WCC teams, and 9-3 in neutral site games.

While Gonzaga is the #1 team in the country, this won’t be a cakewalk against their arch-rivals. These two teams are very familiar with each other and St. Mary’s won’t be intimidated by playing Gonzaga. I like the Zags to win but it will come down to the wire.

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