A Deeper Look - WCC Tourney Final
by Strike Point Sports - 03/05/2007
The regular season of the West Coast Conference is over, but tonight the rubber match of the league's top two teams goes down in Portland. Gonzaga and Santa Clara square off for likely just one spot in the Big Dance.
Santa Clara - 21-9 (16-12 ATS)
Gonzaga - 22-10 (16-14-1 ATS)
9 p.m. EST
It's perfect that these two teams should meet in the conference tournament final. They were the best two teams in the WCC all year and a true rivalry has emerged, especially after the Broncos snapped Gonzaga's home winning streak that was the longest in the nation back in mid February. Santa Clara, however, dropped its final two games to lesser programs and handed the league regular season title to the Bulldogs. Tonight they look for redemption.
Each team won on the other's home court in the two match-ups this season. Gonzaga has struggled to consistently cover in conference, however they have been very successful over the last week or so. The 'Zags have won their last four overall, and they have done one better against the number, going 5-0 ATS in their last five and 8-2 ATS over the last 10.
Tonight's game in Portland has the top seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs listed as 3.5-point favorites. Some books have them at four, but that half point lower is the consensus. The total opened at 151, but it can be found at many different numbers. Some books have it as low as 144 or 145, while some others have it at 150.
This game does come on a Monday, despite being a postseason game, so Gonzaga better not fall back into its Big Monday losing trend. Gonzaga has gone 2-8-1 ATS in its last 11 Monday games. Conversely, Santa Clara has posted a 7-1 ATS mark on the same day.
The Broncos have covered nine of their last 13 games overall, and they covered their lone tournament game last night, besting St. Mary's by 16.
Gonzaga has covered its last four as a favorite, as well as the last four in conference. Santa Clara has, however, gone 4-1-1 ATS in their last six neutral site games as an underdog. The winner goes to the NCAA Tournament, while the loser likely books its spot in the NIT.
Prediction: Gonzaga 72, Santa Clara 69