The metrics say that Gonzaga and St. Mary’s are the two best teams in the West Coast Conference. I am not sure I agree, but I get it.
The mistake is confusing that means the Gaels are actually in the “same league” as the Zags. Gonzaga is at the top of both the national rankings and KenPom, and the gap between them and the rest of the WCC appears to be widening.
I am not saying this is the season that Gonzaga finally wins it all, but their defense has been truly elite this season while their offense is still pretty darn good too.
They might have the top NBA prospect in the country in Chet Holmgren, and maybe that is enough to get them over the top.
St. Mary’s is as familiar with Gonzaga as any program in the country. They might be able to grind this one down to being a competitive game. It is hard to see that though.
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. St. Mary’s Gaels College Basketball Matchup Info and Betting Odds
- Game Matchup: #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (24-2, 13-0 West Coast Conference, 1st in the WCC vs. #23 St. Mary’s Gaels (23-6, 11-3, 2nd in West Coast Conference)
- Venue & Location: University Credit Union Pavilion (Moraga, CA)
- Date: Saturday, February 26, 2022
- Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Spread: Gonzaga -11.5 (-110), St. Mary’s +11.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 144.5 (-110), UNDER 144.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Gonzaga -650, St. Mary’s +450
Odds are via BetMGM.
The Best Thing About Gonzaga Is…
It is kind of hard to choose. Here is a sampling of superlatives from the Bulldogs’ season right now
They have won 17 straight games, including a 14-point win over Texas Tech that has aged better than expected.
Gonzaga is perfect in the West Coast Conference, winning by an average of 26 points per game and posting a 9-2-2 ATS record.
They have the best freshman in America and a leading Wooden Award candidate in lanky forward Chet Holmgren, a consensus top-three 2022 NBA Draft prospect who has five double-doubles in February.
The Zags also have a second Wooden Award candidate in Drew Timme, who scores 18 points per game in just 27 minutes.
They have five players scoring 10+ points per game on the highest-scoring offense in the nation, and they are 6th in the nation in defensive efficiency, making them the most balanced team in college basketball.
Whether they win it all or not Gonzaga is having another monster year.
Gaels Are the Best of the Rest in the WCC
This is a very good Gaels team. They have no really bad losses this season and have some nice wins over the likes of Notre Dame, Oregon, and Utah State.
St. Mary’s swept San Francisco too, giving them the #2 spot in the WCC heading into this final game.
They are the anti-Gonzaga team though, playing at one of the slowest paces in the league. It is by design though. They always play that way under coach Randy Bennett, and this year it has definitely helped them be one of the best defensive teams in the nation. They rank tenth in defensive efficiency.
It is just really hard to beat a team like Gonzaga if you cannot score easily though, especially this season.
When these teams met earlier this season, the Gaels scored only 58 points on the road. They are going to do what they do and hope for the best on Saturday night.
St. Mary’s has lost their last seven games against Gonzaga, covering just twice during that span.
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. St. Mary’s Gaels Basketball Prediction & Picks
Gonzaga 75, St. Mary’s 60 (Gonzaga -11.5 & Under 144.5)
Gonzaga has run through the WCC this season. Not only are they undefeated but they have beaten every team by at least a dozen points.
That means that even if St. Mary’s can cover this number, even in a loss, they will come closer than any WCC opponent has this year. This is a WCC that is expected to have multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament too, not the Atlantic Sun.
Given how dominant the Zags have been it feels like there should be a special premium if you are going to try and fade them. They have not covered every game in league play this season, but they have come very close.
The first time these teams played the Gaels did a good job slowing Gonzaga down, but I am not sure it really gave them much more of a chance to beat Gonzaga. It was a 74-58 final, and the Bulldogs dominated inside even though St. Mary’s is one of the few teams in the WCC that actually has some real size.
With this game being in Moraga I think the Gaels can be effective in slowing Gonzaga down a little more. But with the way that Zags play defense too, it puts a lot of pressure on the Gaels to score more efficiently than their opponent.
Doing that against Gonzaga is just not a good wager to make this season.