St. Mary’s (17-2, 6-0) at Gonzaga (16-3, 6-0)
When: Thursday, January 18th 2018
Where: McCarthey Athletic Center, Spokane, WA
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Gonzaga -9.5/153
The Gonzaga Bulldogs may have won 16 of the last 17 regular season West Coast Conference titles, but it was the St. Mary’s Gaels who garnered nine of 10 first place votes in the preseason poll. Both teams are exactly where they want to be at this point in the season – undefeated in WCC play. The 13th-ranked Bulldogs will try for their 13th win in the last 15 meetings with the unranked Gaels, who returns four starters from a 29-5 squad that lost 69-60 to Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. St. Mary’s was picked to finish ahead of Gonzaga, who returned two key starters in 6’9″ senior forward Johnathan Williams and junior guard Josh Perkins, and swept all three meetings with the Gaels last season, including a 74-56 win in the WCC Tournament title game. Gonzaga made it all the way to the national championship game, giving North Carolina all they could handle in a 71-65 loss. Gonzaga has won its first six WCC games by an average of 31.2 points and is 10-0 at home this season.
The Gaels have won 12 in a row since back-to-back losses to Washington State (84-79) and Georgia (83-81 in OT) in the Wooden Legacy tournament over Thanksgiving, with the most impressive win a 74-64 overtime victory at BYU on December 30th. Senior center Jock Landale leads the team in scoring (21.3) and rebounding (10.3) while senior forward Calvin Hermanson (12.2) and senior point guard Emmett Near (11.2) also are averaging in double figures. All three were preseason All-WCC picks. Hermanson has made 218 career 3-pointers and is hitting them at a 44.6% clip this season. Naar leads the nation with 178 assists and is second nationally with an average of 9.4 per game.
The Zags rank fourth in the country in scoring (89.8) and are the only team with six players averaging double figures. Williams, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a 75-65 win at San Francisco on Saturday, leads the team in scoring (14.1) and rebounding (7.2) while Perkins, who had 13 points in the NCAA title loss to the Tar Heels, is second in scoring (13.6), leads the team in assists (5.5) and is shooting 45% from 3-point range. The others who are averaging double-figures are a young group including freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr. (12.2), sophomore forward Killian Tillie (11.8), sophomore forward Rui Hachimura (10.7) and senior guard Silas Melson (10.6).
Gonzaga has owned the Gaels over the year, whether its in Spokane or Moraga. The Kennel is an almost impossible building for visiting teams to win and the Zags are 6-1 against the spread in the last seven meetings with St. Mary’s in Spokane. I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Gonzaga -7.5
- Gaels are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
- Gaels are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- Gaels are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Gaels are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Gaels are 9-2-2 ATS in their last 13 vs. West Coast.
- Gaels are 21-5 ATS in their last 26 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Gaels are 15-5-2 ATS in their last 22 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Gaels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Gaels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games.
- Bulldogs are 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 Thursday games.
- Bulldogs are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Bulldogs are 34-15-2 ATS in their last 51 vs. West Coast.
- Bulldogs are 39-18-3 ATS in their last 60 games overall.
- Bulldogs are 42-20-4 ATS in their last 66 games following a ATS loss.
- Under is 11-2 in Gaels last 13 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Under is 5-1 in Gaels last 6 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Under is 6-2 in Gaels last 8 vs. West Coast.
- Under is 5-2 in Gaels last 7 overall.
- Under is 5-2 in Gaels last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 39-16 in Gaels last 55 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 41-17 in Gaels last 58 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Under is 33-14 in Gaels last 47 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 7-3 in Gaels last 10 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Under is 36-16-1 in Gaels last 53 road games.
- Under is 34-16-1 in Gaels last 51 Thursday games.
- Under is 41-20 in Gaels last 61 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Over is 4-0 in Bulldogs last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Over is 4-0 in Bulldogs last 4 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Over is 8-1 in Bulldogs last 9 home games.
- Under is 7-1 in Bulldogs last 8 Thursday games.
- Under is 11-2 in Bulldogs last 13 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Over is 5-1 in Bulldogs last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 8-3 in Bulldogs last 11 vs. West Coast.
- Under is 5-2 in Bulldogs last 7 overall.
- Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
- Under is 11-2 in the last 13 meetings.
- Under is 18-4 in the last 22 meetings in Gonzaga.
- Road team is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
- Gaels are 6-18 ATS in the last 24 meetings.
- Gaels are 1-6 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Gonzaga.