Game of the Day: Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. St. Mary’s Gaels


Gonzaga Bulldogs at St. Mary’s Gaels (+2, 133.5)

Gonzaga has claimed a spot in the NCAA Tournament for a record 17 consecutive seasons, but the Bulldogs may need a win over No. 23 Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference tournament title game in Las Vegas on Tuesday to continue the streak. The teams shared the WCC regular-season title but Saint Mary’s earned the top seed after sweeping the two head-to-head meetings.

Point guard Joe Rahon scored 18 points to lead Saint Mary’s to an 81-66 win over No. 4 seed Pepperdine in Monday’s semifinals while Gonzaga was tested by third-seeded BYU before holding on for an 88-84 victory. The Bulldogs are tied with Kentucky and Wisconsin for the fifth-longest appearance streak in NCAA Tournament history but failed to record any signature nonconference wins and enter Tuesday’s title game squarely on the bubble. Saint Mary’s would seem to have a better chance of receiving an at-large berth, but the Gaels can make Selection Sunday considerably less stressful by recording its third straight win over Gonzaga. “We’ve worked the whole season to get here, and we want to make the most of it,” Gaels forward Dane Pineau told the San Jose Mercury News. “It’d be great to have a guarantee.”

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

LINE HISTORY: Gonzaga opened as two point favorites and the spread has held steady. The total quickly dropped to 133.5 after opening at 135.

INJURY REPORT:

Gonzaga – C Ryan Edwards (questionable – knee).

St. Mary’s – No injuries to report.

WHAT SHARPS SAY:

“This is a chance for St. Mary’s to sweep the season series from Gonzaga for the first time since 1995 but it is not going to be easy. Gonzaga has been inconsistent this season and being outside the bubble looking in, this is a must win to get into the NCAA Tournament. Beating the same team, and a very good on top of it, three times in a season is difficult and the oddsmakers seem to agree by putting the Bulldogs as a bucket favorite.” – Covers Expert Matt Fargo.

DANCE TEAM WAR:

ABOUT THE BULLDOGS (25-7, 14-15-1 ATS, 15-15 O/U): Forwards Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis combined for 47 points and 22 rebounds in the semifinal win over BYU and figure to receive another heavy workload Tuesday as reserve center Ryan Edwards is expected to miss his second straight game due to a right knee injury. The Bulldogs are down to seven scholarship players but have one of the nation’s top stars in Wiltjer, who was held to an average of 9.5 points and four rebounds in the two earlier losses to Saint Mary’s. Wiltjer was 5-of-7 from 3-point range and had 29 points on Monday against BYU as the Cougars constantly double-teamed Sabonis.

ABOUT THE GAELS (27-4, 17-10 ATS, 19-17-1 O/U): Forwards Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis combined for 47 points and 22 rebounds in the semifinal win over BYU and figure to receive another heavy workload Tuesday as reserve center Ryan Edwards is expected to miss his second straight game due to a right knee injury. The Bulldogs are down to seven scholarship players but have one of the nation’s top stars in Wiltjer, who was held to an average of 9.5 points and four rebounds in the two earlier losses to Saint Mary’s. Wiltjer was 5-of-7 from 3-point range and had 29 points on Monday against BYU as the Cougars constantly double-teamed Sabonis.

TRENDS:

* Bulldogs are 8-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings.
* Gaels are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games following a ATS win.
* Under is 9-0 in Bulldogs last 9 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 9-0 in the last 9 meetings.

COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is pounding the Over in this matchup at a rate of 67 percent despite the obvious Under trends listed above. Gonzaga appears to have the advantage in side betting with 54 percent of the public money coming in on the Bulldogs.

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