by GT Staff |
6 p.m. at Orleans Arena
St. Mary’s +7 vs Gonzaga (138½)
It’s the first time in the 23-year history of the West Coast Conference that the tournament has been moved to a neutral site, which is right here at Orleans Arena. But it’s the same old story – Gonzaga in the finals. In fact, this is the 12th consecutive year that the Bulldogs have reached the title game, having won 8 of the last 10. So it’s no surprise St. Mary’s is a 7-point underdog. In fact, you wonder why the line isn’t higher.
Well, there are reasons. Both teams are 25-5 and probably headed to the Big Dance regardless of the result. Gonzaga has defeated St. Mary’s twice, once by 7 at home and again by 2 on the road. But guard Patty Mills, considered the top player in the WCC, injured his wrist in the first Gonzaga matchup and missed the second one. Mills just returned to the lineup for the Gaels in their semifinal win over Portland, scoring 12.
Gonzaga obliterated Santa Clara 94-69 in the other semifinal and has won eight in a row since that 18-point loss to Memphis. Prior to the Memphis defeat, the Zags won nine straight, Even with Mills available, he only hit 3-of-12 shots against Portland. Smart money doesn’t usually go against the Zags in the WCC. GONZAGA.