Game to be played at Orleans Areada, Las Vegas, Nevada
Fourth-ranked Gonzaga will be playing in the West Coast Conference championship game for the 20th straight season when it meets No. 18 Saint Mary’s in Tuesday’s league title game in Las Vegas. Both teams are headed to the NCAA Tournament no matter the outcome but the top-seeded Bulldogs are gunning for their fifth straight tournament crown while the second-seeded Gaels are trying to claim their first since beating Gonzaga in overtime in 2012.
Gonzaga, which defeated Saint Mary’s twice in the regular season, experienced some struggles before closing out Santa Clara 77-68 in Monday’s semifinals and junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss attributed it to being part of the territory. “I mean, it’s March. You know, I think anyone can become anything in March,” Williams-Goss said after scoring 25 points in the victory. “Everyone’s playing for their lives, playing to see another day. So we don’t think anything is going to be easy this month. And you know, we’re expecting a fist fight every time we step on the floor from here on out.” Saint Mary’s had few issues in its semifinal as it steamrolled BYU 81-50 to reach the title game for the seventh time in the past nine seasons and junior center Jock Landale bristles over analysts who claim the Gaels have no shot to beat the Bulldogs. “They were saying Saint Mary’s can’t beat Gonzaga because we don’t have the shooters or the defenders and we think that is ridiculous,” Landale said in a postgame television interview. “We’ll see what happens (Tuesday) night but I think we’re pretty confidence in ourselves.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The Zags opened the West Coast Conference championship favored by 5.5-points and has quickly jumped to Zags -6. Gonzaga closed as 5-point road faves in the teams’ first meeting this season and 4-point home faves in the second, with the Bulldogs going 2-0 SU/ATS in those games. Check out the complete line history here.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: St. Mary’s (-13) – Gonzaga (-18.8) + neutral court (0) = Zags -5.8
INJURY REPORT: No injuries to report.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Losing to BYU wasn’t expected but give the Zags a ton of credit for nearly running the table. While the Gaels are one of the true unknowns seeding and strength wise heading into the tournament.” – Covers Expert Zack Cimini.
ABOUT SAINT MARY’S (28-3, 16-10-2 ATS, 12-16 O/U): Landale recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds against BYU for his 15th double-double of the season as he improved his averages to 17.1 points and 9.5 rebounds. Junior forward Calvin Hermanson made nine 3-pointers and averaged 17.5 points in the first two games of the tourney and his 13-point average allows him to join Landale as the team’s only double-digit scorers. Junior guard Emmett Naar (9.5 points, team-leading 5.8 assists), who had 11 assists in both tourney games, struggled in both regular-season meetings against Gonzaga by averaging just 4.5 points on 4-of-18 shooting.
ABOUT GONZAGA (31-1, 21-7-1 ATS, 15-14 O/U)): The Bulldogs are aiming for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney and a third victory over the Gaels just might sew that up. Williams-Goss has registered eight 20-point outings this season — including back-to-back efforts in the WCC tournament — while leading the Bulldogs in scoring (16.7) and assists (4.7). Senior center Przemek Karnowski had 19 points and seven rebounds against Santa Clara to raise his averages to 12.5 and 5.9, respectively, while junior power forward Johnathan Williams (10.1 points, team-leading 6.4 rebounds) is averaging 11 points and six rebounds in the tournament.
* St. Mary’s is 5-0-1 ATS in its last six games overall.
* Gonzaga is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games following an ATS loss.
* Gonzaga is 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
* Under is 10-2 in the last 12 meetings.
* Under is 10-2 in both St. Mary’s and Gonzaga’s last 12 games vs. a team with a winning SU record.
COVERS CONSENSUS: With the line just hitting the board there is currently no consensus date. Check back later here for up to date and complete consensus data.