Another sold out crowd is on hand for the West Coast Conference Tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. No, not just for the title game. For the entire tournament. This is the 11th straight year that the WCC Tournament has sold out and the expectation is for Gonzaga to assume its position atop the conference yet again.
Gonzaga lost 60-47 to Saint Mary’s last season to end a string of six straight WCC Tournament wins. The Zags are 57-16 in 73 lifetime games in this event. BYU, who joined the WCC in 2012, is only 9-8 in 17 games, but this is the best team that the Cougars have brought to Las Vegas. They will be the #2 to Gonzaga’s #1 in a conference tournament that is expected to be chalky once again.
All 10 members of the West Coast Conference qualify for the tournament and Gonzaga and BYU will get triple byes into the semifinals.
Here are the teams, seeds, and the odds from BetOnline Sportsbook for the 2020 West Coast Conference Tournament:
- Gonzaga 29-2 (15-1) -400
- BYU 24-7 (13-3) +300
- Saint Mary’s 24-7 (11-5) (record v. BYU) +1000
- Pacific 23-9 (11-5) +3300
- San Francisco 20-11 (9-7) +3300
- Pepperdine 15-15 (8-8) +5000
- Santa Clara 19-12 (6-10) +15000
- Loyola Marymount 10-20 (4-12) +10000
- San Diego 9-22 (2-14) +15000
- Portland 9-22 (1-15) +50000
Gonzaga is the odds-on favorite to win this conference tournament yet again, but BYU is the only team that beat Gonzaga during the conference play portion of the season. Saint Mary’s is usually the only team that can claim that honor, but the Gaels lost by 30 and by 10 to Gonzaga during the regular season this time around.
BYU and Saint Mary’s did play two thrillers and the hope for Gonzaga is that the winner of that likely semifinal game gets softened up a little bit.
Here is the schedule for the 2020 WCC Tournament:
Thursday March 5
6 p.m. PT: 9 San Diego vs. 8 Loyola Marymount
8 p.m. PT: 10 Portland vs. 7 Santa Clara
Friday March 6
6 p.m. PT: 9/8 winner vs. 5 San Francisco
8 p.m. PT: 10/7 winner vs. 6 Pepperdine
Saturday March 7
7 p.m. PT: 9/8/5 winner vs. 4 Pacific
9 p.m. PT: 10/7/6 winner vs. 3 Saint Mary’s
Monday March 9
6 p.m. PT: 9/8/5/4 winner vs. 1 Gonzaga
8:30 p.m. PT: 10/7/6/3 winner vs. 2 BYU
Tuesday March 10
6 p.m. PT: Championship Game
The schedule is pretty interesting for this conference tournament. Gonzaga and BYU wind up with long layoffs and the teams that advance to the semifinals catch a break with Sunday’s off day. That means that a team like San Francisco or Pepperdine that could make it to Monday would get a much needed bit of rest.
San Francisco is that team. The Dons are one of the most interesting teams in college basketball this season. They are selling out on defense to try and prevent three-pointers. Opponents are shooting 38.5% from 3, but San Francisco has the 11th-lowest 3P Rate against. The Dons are also taking a bunch of threes, as they rank 38th in 3P Rate on offense. First-year head coach Todd Golden has taken an analytics-heavy approach to things this season. Some days it has worked, other days it has not.
The Dons nearly beat Gonzaga back on February 1. Gonzaga adjusted and won by 17 in the second meeting, but it was a 34-33 game with just over 14 minutes left. San Francisco would carry a lot more value as a money line rollover than this low futures price if that is a tree that you wanted to bark up.
Gonzaga would rather see a more conventional opponent like Pacific in that semifinal game, especially if BYU and Saint Mary’s are battling it out in the late game. Hopefully the extended layoff can help Killian Tillie get healthy for the Zags.
BYU is the more dangerous opponent for Gonzaga because the Cougars can shoot the ball extremely well and that’s how upsets happen. A hot-shooting team can beat anybody on any given night. The 91 points BYU scored on Gonzaga with 1.239 points per possession were far and away season highs.
BYU is the team I’d be worried about here for Gonzaga, but at that price point, you can probably just bet the BYU ML in the final if you like them. Why run the risk of disaster against Saint Mary’s?
Gonzaga probably won’t lose here after last year’s disappointing ending, but betting them at this price is hard. The irony is that Gonzaga was only -200 in 2018 and won with ease. Gonzaga was -1200 last season and lost. We’ll see what they do here.
Pick: Gonzaga -400