St. Mary’s Gaels vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Preview and Pick
- Updated: January 23, 2011
St. Mary’s Gaels
(17-3, 9-6 ATS)
(13-7, 9-7-1 ATS)
The reign of terror for the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the West Coast Conference might be coming to a close on Thursday night in front of their hometown crowd at the Kennel. They’ll take on the St. Mary’s Gaels is a battle of two of the top teams in the WCC this year in a nationally televised clash on Thursday night.
The Gaels might not have Omar Samhan any longer, but they are still one of the best mid major teams in the country. They’ll probably punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament once and for all if they can pull off this upset, as we know that they are going to coast to at least 24 total victories on the year and probably at least 25 including the West Coast Conference Tournament this year and will have a decent RPI rating to boot. This is a team that runs up and down the court with ease, as it is averaging 82.5 points per game this year. A loss over the weekend to the Vanderbilt Commodores wasn’t a huge surprise, but the fact that it was a 19 point setback was definitely a bit of an eyebrow raiser. At least a split against the Zags and the Portland Pilots would be great this week, but a domination of them both is clearly the goal. This is a team that only really goes eight players deep, but all eight men can score, and have put up at least 6.2 points per game this year. They’re all averaging at least 13 minutes per game as well, and can all step in and go for 20+ points if given the chance.
Gonzaga has won 10 league titles in a row, but a loss here would really put a damper on things going forward for the rest of this year, and it might put its consecutive seasons streak with a bid to the NCAA Tournament in jeopardy as well. This is largely the same team that made it to the second round of the dance last year, led by Steven Gray, Robert Sacre, and Elias Harris, but none of the three are really putting up the same type of stats this year as they did a season ago. Sacre surprisingly hasn’t had a double-double in this calendar year, while Gray is only averaging 12.4 points per game over the course of Gonzaga’s last 10 duels. He did, however, put up 20 in an OT loss against the San Francisco Dons over the weekend. Harris has probably had the biggest drop off in production, as he has only averaged 12.3 points per game this year and has scored just 21 over the course of the team’s last two defeats. He averaged almost 15 points per game last year.
We’re going to be getting a juicy, juicy price on the Gaels here, especially after their loss to the Commodores over the weekend. The tide is clearly changing in the WCC, and St. Mary’s is going to prove it with an upset on the NCAA basketball odds at the Kennel on Thursday night.
NCAA Basketball Free Pick: St. Mary’s Gaels
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