College Basketball Best Bets for Tuesday: No. 9 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Saint Mary’s odds, picks, predictions for WCC Championship

Though both schools are already battling for a wide bid on selection Sunday, today’s WCC championship between No.9 Gonzaga (-2.5) and No.16 Saint Mary’s qualifies as a must-see rubber match (9 p.m ET, ESPN). Saint Mary’s gave the ‘Zags their fifth loss of the season with a 78-70 overtime win on February 4, but Gonzaga retaliated in Spokane, defeating the Gaels 77-68 to grab a piece of the league Regular Season Title.

The two rivals will now meet for the third time at a neutral venue to decide who the 23 WCC champion really is. We’ve broken down the matchup for those looking to place a bet on Tuesday night’s championship, providing our best bets by side and total.

Odds courtesy of BetMGM

#9 Gonzaga vs #16 Saint Mary’s WCC Championship odds, tips, best bets

  • spread: Gonzaga -2.5 (-110); Saint Mary +2.5 (-110)
  • About Below: OVER 138.5 (-110); BELOW 138.5 (-110)
  • money line: Gonzaga-150; Saint Mary’s +125

While KenPom ratings see Saint Mary’s as a one-point neutral location favorite due to the Gaels’ higher overall adjusted efficiency margin, Gonzaga currently sits among favorites at BetMGM at -2.5 points. Some of this has to do with Gonzaga’s brand name playing a role in their pricing as favorites, but the ‘Zags also played a near-perfect game against the Gaels in their second meeting and found a way to take advantage of them.

For starters, Gonzaga’s ball-screen defense was nearly flawless, consistently icy ball screens with Aidan Mahaney (14.7 PPG, 44.1 FG%). Gonzaga center Drew Timme did his part to take the Gaels’ leading scorer out of the game, flashing to the touchline to force Mahaney to surrender the ball against a doubles team. After icing the ball screen, Timme returned to color in time to end defensive possession, forcing the Gaels’ other options to beat them consistently.

The Zags held Mahaney, the first-team All-WCC pick, to zero points in the first half, a major reason Gonzaga took a 39-26 halftime lead. While they held Mahaney in check, Gonzaga struggled to contain first-team All-WCC drafter Logan Johnson as Johnson scored 27 points in 7-of-12 shooting from the field. Gonzaga iced ball shields involving Johnson, but he didn’t care for a second defender who consistently put his head down and came to the basket. We’ll see if Johnson can repeat that outing tonight as there’s a chance he won’t shoot a high clip in tonight’s rubber match as he has to work extra hard to get his.

On the offensive end of the floor, Gonzaga found a way in their last meeting to connect 63.2 percent of their two point shots (24 of 38) against a Saint Mary’s defense ranked 14th in D-1 in defensive two-point rate (45th-rate). .2 percent). Frontcourt players Anton Watson (17 points, seven-of-11 shooting) and Timme (19 points, seven-of-11 shooting) were two of the Zags’ most efficient scorers on Feb. 25. Watson was particularly effective from the short role while Timme did his thing as an elite back-to-the-basket scorer.

While the Gaels will get the Bulldogs to run their offense at half court, limiting their transition play, Gonzaga’s ability to win in a variety of ways has made Gonzaga a consistent Final Four contender. It might not be quite how Mark Few would like to pursue his offense, but Gonzaga’s ability to get into their spots more easily on the halfcourt will likely result in a WCC championship for the Bulldogs. Timme is also five points away from becoming the Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer and the senior center is set to break the scoring record while his school retains bragging rights for now.

Best bets: Gonzaga -2.5 -110; OVER 138.5

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