NCAA Basketball Pick: Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s West Coast Conference Final Preview
The Dogs know that they are going to be going into the NCAA Tournament, and they are going to do so with a great seeding as well. This is a team with a long history in the dance, and the win over the BYU Cougars in the Conference semifinals will only impress the Selection Committee further. The Bulldogs don’t have the best offense in the world and they aren’t that deep, but they do have the defense to be able to top any team in the entire land. Kevin Pangos is the top scorer for this club at 14.0 points per game, and he is one of the four that are averaging at least 10 points per game. Elias Harris has all sort of experience in the dance, and he is the type of player that can go off for a double-double on any given night. He is averaging 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, and he has had some great games against the Gaels in his career. Robert Sacre is also another man that could be a matchup nightmare for a relatively undersized St. Mary’s team, and he is good for 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
There were some points this year in which the Gaels were in some trouble for the NCAA Tournament, as they were beaten by Gonzaga, the Loyola Marymount Lions and the Murray State Racers in a span of just two weeks, and that put some things into a level of doubt. However, road wins against the Portland Pilots and San Francisco Dons, as long as a win over the Dons in the WCC semifinals have corrected all of that, and now, this is a team that figures to be in the top half of the bracket regardless of what ends up happening in this one. St. Mary’s can run and run with the best teams in the land, and it is a very deep team that uses its bench quite a bit. Three men are averaging double digits in scoring, including the leading scorer Matthew Dellavedova, who is good for 15.4 points per game and Rob Jones, who is putting up a double-double with 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Three others are averaging at least 7.8 points per game as well.
The Final Word: Though we think that the Gaels are probably the team better served to make it out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, we do think that the Zags can get the job done in this one. They are the bigger team, and they have a good history against St. Mary’s, and we think that in Sin City, it will be the Bulldogs that do the barking.
Gonzaga Bulldogs @ St. Mary’s Gaels Pick: Gonzaga Bulldogs -1.5