On Tuesday night, the No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs (30-2) take on the Saint Mary’s Gaels (26-7) inside the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference tournament title. The championship game tips off at 9 pm ET.
The two schools met in last season’s championship game, with Saint Mary’s knocking off Gonzaga to claim the title. Gonzaga took down the Gaels twice this season, winning by 30 on the road and 10 at home.
To get here, Gonzaga took down San Francisco while Saint Mary’s knocked off BYU in the semifinals. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are a 9.5-point favorite in the title tilt.
What to Know – Gonzaga
Gonzaga secured its 30th win of the season Monday night in a narrow contest against San Francisco. The victory was Gonzaga’s 30th of the season, making it the fourth season in a row the Bulldogs have earned 30 or more victories.
The Bulldogs captured the WCC Tournament Championship for six straight seasons before falling in the championship last season to Saint Mary’s.
Entering the tournament, the Bulldogs had an eye-popping six players averaging in double figures. Sophomore forward Filip Petrusev, the WCC Player of the Year, paces the Bulldogs, averaging 17.8 points per game.
Junior forward Corey Kispert (14.3 ppg) and senior forward Killian Tillie (13.6 ppg) add additional elements to the nation’s top-ranked offense.
At the conclusion of the regular season, Gonzaga led the nation in scoring, averaging 87.7 points per game behind 51.5% shooting from the field (second in the nation) and 39% from beyond the arc (seventh in the nation).
Defensively the Bulldogs surrender an average of 67.6 per game. The Bulldogs rank second in both KenPom and third in NET rankings.
What to Know – Saint Mary’s
Saint Mary’s is back in the WCC Championship after narrowly slipping past BYU by one (51-50) in the semifinal. The Gaels overcame a six-point halftime deficit to earn their bid back to the championship.
This marks the fourth time in five years the Gaels have punched their ticket to the WCC title game. Saint Mary’s is 1-3 in those games, with each defeat coming at the hands of the Zags.
Jordan Ford leads the Gaels offensively, scoring 21.7 points per game. The senior guard shoots 49.3% from the field and a blistering 41.2% from behind the arc. Redshirt junior forward Malik Fitts is another viable option offensively for the Gaels, averaging 16.5 per game.
Ford piled in 28 points in their last outing against Gonzaga backed by 12-of-21 shooting from the field.
Throughout the regular season, Saint Mary’s averaged 76.3 points per game. The Gaels’ .397 three-point field goal percentage ranked third in the country.
On defense, the Gaels allow opponents to score 66.4 per game. Saint Mary’s ranks 36th in KenPom and 30th in the NET rankings.
The Pick is In
Gonzaga is the more talented and deeper team of the two squads. The Zags’ contingent made it feel almost like a home game in Las Vegas.
If Saint Mary’s gets hot from beyond the arc, it can keep this one close, and we think it will. Give us Saint Mary’s +9.5.