Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s Favored In WCC Semifinals

byu saint marys

Jay Pryce

Monday, March 5, 2018 2:06 PM GMT

Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 2:06 PM GMT

Gonzaga is a double-digit favorite (-13) over San Francisco, while BYU is catching 5.5 points vs. Saint Mary’s in the WCC Semifinals at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas Monday. Best bets and previews for each here.

San Francisco vs. No. 7 Gonzaga (-13)

San Francisco (18-14 SU, 11-17 ATS) is coming off a thrilling 71-70 overtime win against Pacific in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament on Saturday. The Dons buckled down on defense in the second half to claim victory, holding the Tigers to 28.7 percent from the floor. It’s San Fran’s sixth win in the last eight games. Both defeats easily could have gone the other way, losing by a trey to San Diego and a bucket in overtime to BYU. The Dons are confident and hope to ride momentum against a Gonzaga (28-4 SU, 12-16 ATS) team that has won the last 13 meetings.

The Zags rule this tourney, advancing to the final game in each of coach Mark Few’s 18 years in charge. They are 35-4 SU in WCC championship play under his tutelage. The perennial top seed got off to a slow start in its opening round game against Loyola Marymount, only up by one going into halftime. Few’s squad caught fire in the second, however, draining 19-for-24 from the field in a 83-69 victory. The 79.2 percent performance just missed tying a school record (80) for the highest field goal rate in a half. Proof:

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.@ZagMBB shot almost 80% in the 2nd half to overpower @lmuhoops in the quarterfinals of the 2018 @GorillaGlue #WCChoops Championship.@Paramountandco highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/N6dVhPVwxM

— TheW.tv (@TheWtv) March 4, 2018

Few is 36-4 SU vs. San Francisco all-time. His offense, which ranks 10th nationally in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings, is typically too much to handle for the Dons. Since Kyle Smith took over San Fran, the Zags average 87.0 points per game on 53.7 percent shooting in the series.

The Dons, meanwhile, have put up their fair share of points, surpassing market projections in three of the four matchups. Frankie Ferrari, who tops the conference with a 2.8 assists-to-turnover ratio, leads the offense. Few possessions are wasted. Look for such efficiency to help push the score ‘over’ a 140.5 opening total. The pair combines for 156.8 points per game in four between Few and Smith. Zags win 80-63. Pick the ‘over’ and cash.

Free NCAAB Pick: OverBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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BYU vs. No. 22 Saint Mary’s (-5.5)

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BYU (23-9 SU, 15-14 ATS) is in the WCC semifinals for the fifth straight year following an 85-79 victory over San Diego on Saturday as a 4.5-point favorite. It was the Cougars’ fourth win but just second cover against the spread in their last six games. The offense, which owns the 24th highest shooting rate in the nation at 48.5 percent, is cold. BYU is draining just 42.9 percent from the floor in this span.

Saint Mary’s (28-4 SU, 12-15 ATS) eked out a 69-66 win over Pepperdine in its quarterfinal matchup. The final score easily stayed ‘under’ a 144 game total, which makes it 13 straight wins for the wager. The Gaels, who thrive on their offensive efficiency (12th per KenPom), are stepping up their shot-stopping abilities during the run. They yield 61.2 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting since Jan. 18. Couple this with the fact coach Randy Bennett’s squad ranks 341 out of 351 in tempo among D-I programs, and it’s easy to see how ‘under’ bettors are getting rich backing this bunch.

The Gaels have won the last five meetings in the series by double digits. Bennett’s defense has found the answers to slowing down the Cougars' All-WCC First Team honorees guard Elijah Bryant and forward Yoeli Childs. The duo leads BYU in scoring with 17.9 and 17.5 points per game. Outside of a 29-point outburst by Childs in a 74-64 overtime loss in Provo earlier this season, neither has matched his average in five prior meetings. Bryant posts 11.8 per game and Childs 13.4. The Cougars are 6-14-1 ATS overall when the pair combine for fewer than 26 points in a game. Saint Mary’s wins 73-62. Lay the points.

Free NCAAB Pick: SMCBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

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