The inevitable is finally here, and No. 17 Saint Mary’s Gaels will face No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs for the West Coast Conference Championship for the fifth time since 2016.
The Zags are a big favorite, but SMC just knocked off the No. 1 team in the country nine days ago in their gym. While the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is irrelevant here as both teams are a lock for the field, Gonzaga will look to win its ninth WCC Tournament title in 10 years. The one exception? Saint Mary’s 60-47 win in the title game in 2019. This would also be the 20th ring for the Zags, all of them since 1995.
Saint Mary’s: 25-6 (12-3 WCC), 18 NET, 17 KenPom
Randy Bennett’s teams is doing what they do, which is defending at an elite level while trying to grind out possessions. SMC is ninth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency by KenPom, and allows opponents an assist on just 35.6% of field goals, the best rate in America.
Senior forward Matthias Tass (12.6 points, 6.2 rebounds) has one of the smallest points per game averages for a team’s leading scorer in Division I. Opponents score just 59.8 points per game against the Gaels, the ninth-lowest rate in the country.
Gonzaga: 25-3 (13-1 WCC), 1 NET, 1 KenPom
The Zags are still a big favorite despite the loss in Moraga just over a week ago. After being just 40 minutes from the national championship last year, a slightly rebuilt team is right back in position to return to the Final Four.
Everything that Mark Few’s team does is the opposite of Randy Bennett’s in that they want to go fast and score faster. But with the second-best eFG in America at 59.3%, they also hold opponents to just 42.9%, which is the best mark in the country.
Drew Timme (17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds) and Chet Holmgren (14.5 points, 9.6 rebounds) are both off to the NBA next year, and this will be their last chance to claim a conference championship before being the favorite to win the national championship as well.
How to watch the WCC Tournament Championship Game
When: Tuesday, March 8, 9:00 p.m. ET
Where: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
Livestream: WatchESPN.com, ESPN App
Odds for WCC Tournament Championship Game from DraftKings Sportsbook:
Spread: Gonzaga -13.5
Total: Saint Mary’s +650, Gonzaga -1000
Odds for both teams at DraftKings Sportsbook before tournament
Saint Mary’s +425
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