Saint Mary's at Gonzaga Betting Preview, Selection, Odds

Game: Saint Mary's at Gonzaga (-9)

Sharp: Dave Miller

Selection: Gonzaga (-9)

The West Coast Conference has had a very good 2019-20 college basketball season, as three teams are very likely set to appear in the NCAA Tournament

But which team will earn the league's automatic bid to the Big Dance on Tuesday night?

Third-seeded Saint Mary's (25-7) used a pull-up jumper from star senior guard Jordan Ford with 1.4 seconds left to give the Gaels a 51-50 win over BYU in a WCC semifinal on Monday night. Saint Mary's will face Gonzaga for the tournament title in a rematch of last year's championship game when the Gaels upset the Bulldogs to earn the league's automatic entry into the NCAA Tournament.

Ford, who at 21.2 points per game is the WCC's leading scorer, had 12 of his 18 points in the second half for Randy Bennett's squad, which beat a BYU team that had won nine straight games. All-WCC first-team selection TJ Haws was held to just five points on 2-of-14 shooting. The Cougars had control of the game but went 9:13 without a basket as they made just 6 shots in the second half and turned it over seven times. Saint Mary's used its physicality defensively to make up for connecting on just 8-of-28 shots in the first half and sticking around by only being down 6 at the half.

So the Gaels now have a championship date with top-seeded Gonzaga (30-2), which used Joel Ayayi's big second half to dispose of a game San Francisco team 81-77 in a semifinal earlier in the night. The redshirt sophomore from France scored 12 of his 14 points over the final 20 minutes, while Killian Tillie added 19 points and 10 rebounds and Ryan Woolridge chipped in 16. This will be Gonzaga's 23rd consecutive WCC final, which is simply amazing.

Ford has proven to be an Iron Man, scoring 42 points and playing all 50 minutes in the team's double-overtime victory over Pepperdine in the quarterfinals on Saturday before connecting with the game-winning bucket on Monday night. The Gaels will need a strong offensive game from forward Malik Fitts, who had only nine points on 2-of-13 shooting against BYU but made an impact defensively. The Zags have so much scoring depth, so it will be a chore for the Gaels to win this one on the defensive end.

The Gaels lost by 30 and 10 points against the Bulldogs this season, but they lost to the Zags by 48 and 14 points during the regular season last season before beating them by 13 in the tournament final—so history could repeat itself. Gonzaga at -9 is a big number for a conference final, but this is a St. Mary's team that may be a bit fatigued. The Zags will be a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance for a reason.


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