Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s prediction: WCC Tournament odds, pick


Finally, we’re getting the matchup we’ve been waiting for in the WCC Tournament finals: Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s, with the winner likely a top-four seed or better in the NCAA Tournament.

The teams split their season series in the regular season – St. Mary’s won the first game in overtime before Gonzaga got revenge in its home finale three weeks later.

Which team will deliver the decisive blow and punch their ticket to the Big Dance?

Following the winning bets on Gonzaga’s game last night against the San Francisco Dons, here’s how we’re betting on Tuesday’s matchup, which tips off at 9pm ET on ESPN.

Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s odds

(via BetMGM)

  • Gonzaga -2.5 (-110), Moneyline -150
  • St Mary’s +2.5 (-110), Moneyline +125
  • O/U 138.5 (-110)

Gonzaga vs Saint Mary’s predictions and analysis

St. Mary’s may be the bottom ranked team in the polls, but it has been ranked highly by advanced metrics all season, and our friends at KenPom have the Gaels outright winning this matchup.

So why, exactly, is Gonzaga favored to win this game?

A key reason, obviously, is brand recognition.

The Zags have long been the crème de la crème of the WCC, winning the conference tournament 18 times in 23 years and earning a No. 1 seed in four of the last five NCAA Tournaments.

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) celebrates after a play during the game between the St. Mary’s Gaels and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It helps that those teams regularly feature future NBA players on the roster, from Domantas Sabonis (2016) and Zach Collins (2017) to Jalen Suggs (2021) and Chet Holmgren (2022).

This team just isn’t built that way, and the results have been spectacular.

Less than half of Gonzaga’s conference wins came by double digits — a rarity for this group — and the team lost multiple games in conference play for the first time since 2016, when it was the No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The biggest issue this year has come on defense.

While the Bulldogs are ranked first in adjusted offensive efficiency for the fourth time in five years, their defense is ranked 90th, which will be their first season outside the top 50 since 2010.

They are also allowing opponents to shoot 35.3% from three along with a 39.7% 3-point attempt rate – both higher than any Gonzaga team has surrendered in the past decade.

Conversely, St. Mary’s has one of the best defenses in the entire country.

The Gaels rank seventh in adjusted efficiency and top-three marks in defensive rebound rate (78.2%) and opponent assist rate (35.6%).

Translation: You have to work hard to score against this bunch, and you’ve usually only got one shot at it.

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Malachi Smith (13) reacts after a call during the game between the St. Mary's Gaels and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Malachi Smith (13) reacts after a call during the game between the St. Mary’s Gaels and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Betting on college basketball?

Five of Gonzaga’s seven worst games by offensive rating resulted in losses, including the team’s stumble at St. Mary’s in early February.

And when the offense got back into the rematch, the Bulldogs benefited from strong shooting nights from their other options outside of leading scorer Drew Timme (21 ppg) — which has been a hit-or-miss proposition all year.

Timme is almost certainly going to get his buckets in this matchup.

Will his teammates step up again? That will be the defining question on Tuesday.

And if the Gaels’ methodical offense can maintain the efficiency level we’ve seen in recent weeks — including the loss to Gonzaga — I’d expect Randy Bennett’s group to tear up the net for the first time since 2019.

Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s

  • St Mary’s +2.5 (-110 BetMGM)

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