It’s been a collision course in the WCC all season long with the Saint Mary’s Gaels and Gonzaga Bulldogs barreling towards a showdown in the conference title game.
Now, we’re just one game away, and Saint Mary’s will have to beat the BYU Cougars in the semifinals to hold up its end of the bargain.
No. 5 seed BYU will try to play spoiler in this spot and take down No. 1, but the Cougars also looking for a bit of revenge.
Saint Mary’s is 2-0 against the Cougars this season including a 57-56 win in Provo. BYU took out Portland and Loyola Marymount to get to the semis and Saint Mary’s has had a bye to this point by virtue of the top seed in the WCC. Let’s check out the odds.
BYU vs. Saint Mary’s odds, spread and total
BYU vs. Saint Mary’s prediction and pick
This isn’t the game that the Gaels have been dying to play. They’re ready to get another shot at the Zags after losing to them in the regular season finale. Even LMU would have provided more motivation because it is the only team in conference other than Gonzaga to beat the Gaels.
Saint Mary’s is always a well coached and disciplined team, but it still has to be overlooking the Cougars a little bit.
I also like how BYU matches up against the Gaels because of its pace of play. The Cougars like to run and are top 50 in possessions per game, while Saint Mary’s is 345th.
Now, Saint Mary’s is much more efficient with their possessions and is sixth in defensive efficiency, but I tend to favor faster paced teams in March because they can more easily erase shooting variance in one game situations by having more possessions.
Ultimately Saint Mary’s is the much better team, and I love that its senior guards, Logan Johnson and Alex Ducas have a freshmen spark plug scorer next to them in Aidan Mahaney.
I think the Gaels will advance, but BYU has covered four of its last five games and got a 23-point performance from Rudi Williams in the quarterfinals. The Cougars’ two losses to Saint Mary’s this year were by a combined seven points and they are 7.5 point dogs tonight.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change