A Deeper Look - WCC Hoops on Big Monday
by Strike Point Sports - 01/22/2007
WCC ESPN Showcase
Gonzaga - 12-7 (7-10-1 ATS)
Portland - 6-14 (5-13 ATS)
After falling on the road last Big Monday to St. Mary's, Gonzaga again travels to play another WCC rival, however this time it's struggling Portland. Once again, the 'Zags have owned this series, having won nine of the last ten meetings. But this Pilots squad is another team that has been able to cover the spread, going 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine meetings against the Bulldogs. Also to note, the underdog has also covered six of the last nine. Currently Portland is a home underdog of 13 points. The total is posted at 141.
Gonzaga's loss last week was their first conference loss in over two years. In 2005 they were perfect in conference play, but it shows now this year that teams do not fear this top WCC team. Gonzaga also failed to cover on the road against the Gaels, and that now makes a stretch of 2-5-1 ATS in their last seven games overall.
Portland returns home after suffering back-to-back road conference losses, including failing to cover 14-point and 15.5-point spreads, respectively. The Pilots' top scorer, Darren Cooper, is questionable for tonight's game after recovering from a knee injury. The 6'3'' guard had been averaging over 12 points a game before the setback.
It would be hard enough for Portland to shock Gonzaga even with their top player. The Pilots are scoring under 60 points a night and are one of the worst offensive teams in the country. If Cooper cannot go, it will be a very difficult night for a team looking for a marquee program victory.
Prediction: Gonzaga 73, Portland 54
WCC Secondary Showcase
St. Mary's - 11-9 (7-10 ATS)
San Diego - 12-7 (8-5 ATS)
11 p.m. EST
Outside of our weekly showcase of Gonzaga, this week on ESPNU there is another excellent match-up between St. Mary's on the road against Toreros of San Diego. Both come in playing solid ball. St. Mary's upset Gonzaga last Monday at home and has won five of its six games overall. San Diego has won three of four and seven of its last ten. However, it's the Gaels that have gotten the better of the series, winning five of the last six games since 2004. Prior to that San Diego had won three of four between 2002-03.
St. Mary's brings their awful road record into play tonight. They've gone 1-7 this year away from home while going 1-8 ATS in their last nine road games. They have, however, maintained a strong record against the number in conference play. The Gaels are 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 vs. the WCC. The two teams have split their ten meetings in terms of covering the spread.
If St. Mary's is going to make it 2-for-2 on Big Monday this year, leading scorer Diamon Simpson will have to play a superb effort in the scoring column. He was terrific last Monday in his team's win over Gonzaga, scoring 29 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
For the Toreros it starts with 6'7'' forward Gyno Pomare. He has scored double figures in his last ten games, including four double-doubles. His 16 points leads San Diego along with eight rebounds a night. Starting point guard Brandon Johnson also contributes 13 points and five assists for the home team.
San Diego is currently listed as 2.5-point chalk. The line opened at -1.5, and it can be found as low as two. The total is all over the place, depending on what book you choose. It can be found as low as 139.5 and as high as 141.
Prediction: San Diego 69, St. Mary's 65