West Coast Conference Tournament Odds: Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s Ready to Meet Again?
Gonzaga Eyeing Fourth Straight West Coast Conference Tournament Championship
Can Anybody Spoil a Third Meeting Between Gonzaga & Saint Mary’s?
Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s have met in the West Coast Conference championship game in five of the last seven seasons and the West Coast Conference tournament odds are projecting it to become six out of eight.
The Bulldogs and Gaels have combined to win the last 14 WCC titles. It could be business as usual in this year’s event with Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga the top two seeds. Both teams receive byes into the semifinals so there is no risk of an early-round upset.
The tournament begins with games between No. 8 seed Portland and No. 9 seed San Diego as well as No. 7 seed Pacific meeting Pepperdine on Thursday.
The title game is set for Tuesday, March 7 and those involved in the March Madness bracket contest will keep an eye on this game to see how the WCC powers look heading into the NCAA tournament.
Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga are seventh and ninth in the NCAA NET rankings. The next WCC team is No. 82 Santa Clara so the only way that a third WCC makes it into the NCAA tournament would be to win the WCC tourney.
Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga are both priced at -110 to win the WCC title according to the West Coast Conference championship odds.
This is a two-team race with Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga overwhelming favorites to play for the conference title.
Unlike other conference tournaments, the top two seeds only have to win one game to reach the conference final. That could play a factor in the overwhelming odds that have Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga reaching the conference title game according to the West Coast Conference championship odds.
The teams split the two games during the regular season. Freshman Aidan Mahaney had 18 points to lead four starters scoring in double figures as Saint Mary’s won 78-70 in overtime on Feb. 4. Gonzaga got its revenge three weeks later with Drew Timme leading the way with 19 points.
Gonzaga leads not only the WCC, but all Division I men’s basketball teams in points per game this season while Saint Mary’s allows the fewest points per game in the conference.
Santa Clara is a distant third in the odds to win the WCC tournament, coming in at +1800. The Broncos have won seven straight games.
Santa Clara threw scares into both Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s at home. However, it was a different story when they played on the road so it could be interesting what might happen if Santa Clara and Gonzaga meet up int the semifinals.
BYU is priced at +2000 in the West Coast Conference championship odds. In the last four games of the regular season. BYU lost to Gonzaga by seven points and Saint Mary’s by six with both of those games being on the road so the Cougars will not be intimidated by the task of facing either tournament favorite.
As the No. 5 seed, Brigham Young would have to play twice before a potential semifinal matchup with a rested Saint Mary’s team so that could be a tall task.
Loyola Marymount (+3300 to win the tournament) owns wins over both the Gaels and Bulldogs. However, in the rematch with Gonzaga, the Lions lost by 43. A Loyola Marymount-BYU quarterfinal could be entertaining to say the least with the winner advancing to meet Saint Mary’s in the semifinals.
San Francisco is priced at +5000 to win it all in the WCC when it comes to the NCAAB bets. The Dons nearly upset Gonzaga on Jan. 5 and also had a strong showing against Saint Mary’s.
Projected Championship Matchup
There is no question that Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga are expected to reach the WCC title game once again. However, the regular-season results indicate that it likely won’t be a walk in the park for either team.
The bubble teams from the Power-5 conferences will be pulling for the third meeting of the season between the Gaels or Bulldogs because if another WCC team wins the tournament, that is one more spot going to a WCC squad.
Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s will be in the March Madness bracket, regardless of what happens in the conference tournament. The Bulldogs are priced at +2200 and the Gaels at +3300 to win the national title. When looking at the Kenpom college basketball rankings, Gonzaga is first nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency with Saint Mary’s seventh in defensive efficiency.
With so many late-night matchups in the WCC, a 9 p.m. tip Eastern time could give many people a chance to see the talented Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s team at work. It could be one of the most anticipated matchups among all the conference tournaments.
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