2019 West Coast Conference Tournament Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Gonzaga needs to just join the Pac-12 and be done with it.
Maybe at least wander into the Mountain West.
The Bulldogs' lack of a FBS-caliber football team would preclude any move from happening. But at this point it's not even fun watching Gonzaga absolutely demolish the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga, which is currently the No. 1 team in the country, has gone 16-0 in conference play this year while outscoring league opponents by 25 points per game. San Diego is the only team to hang within 12 points of the Bulldogs, and Gonzaga hasn't played a game decided by fewer than 10 points since its last loss, coming at North Carolina back on Dec. 15.
The Bulldogs are overwhelming favorites to win their seventh straight WCC Tournament title. The second tier of the league is actually deeper than its has been in years. St. Mary's, BYU, San Francisco and San Diego are all capable squads. However, while they have shown that they are all capable of beating one another, none of them have shown the ability to raise themselves to Gonzaga's level of play.
And if you are waiting for that to happen in Las Vegas this weekend, I wouldn't hold your breath.
The West Coast Conference Tournament will take place from March 7-12 in Las Vegas. Here is Doc's Sports 2019 West Coast Conference preview and predictions, with my own projected odds:
The Favorite: Gonzaga (-850)
The Bulldogs won their sixth straight regular-season title and are now looking for their sixth straight tournament title. The Bulldogs have won seven of the last 10 championships in the WCC and are an overwhelming favorite to do so again here. The Bulldogs have won 11 straight after losing at home to St. Mary's and are rolling. Seniors John Williams and Silas Melson, along with junior point guard Josh Perkins, have Final Four experience, and the Bulldogs just have too much size and athleticism for the teams in this league.
The Contender: St. Mary's (+830)
This is actually one of the weaker Gaels teams of the past several seasons. Though Randy Bennett has proven that he is a master at incorporating new pieces into his well-developed system, the problem for the Gaels is that they lack the high-end talent, chemistry and experience of the teams they have brought to the WCC tourney the last two seasons. The Gaels' five league losses were their most in four seasons, and I think that this team is an even longer shot than the odds suggest here.
The Dark Horse: San Francisco (+5500)
I do not know what is going on with San Francisco lately. But none of it is good. At one point this year the Dons were 17-3, had wins over St. Mary's and BYU, and were in discussion for an at-large bid. They lost three in a row, rebounded with four close wins in a row, and then lost their final three regular-season games of the year (two at home). The Dons are a very talented, very experienced team that really relies on offensive tempo and flow. Frankie Ferrari is one of the best mid-major point guards in the nation, and as he goes so goes San Francisco. The Dons are just 3-6 in the WCC tourney the last six years, and they haven't made the semifinals since 2012. But if they can dig in and play a shred of defense, and get hot offensively, this team could be a sleeper.
Early Round Matchup To Watch:
No. 6 Santa Clara (-5) vs. No. 7 San Diego (8 p.m., Friday, March 8)
Do not be fooled by the low seeds: both of these teams are capable of getting hot and doing some damage in the bottom of this bracket. San Diego has four senior starters, a win over Colorado, and close losses to Washington and Ole Miss. Santa Clara is much younger, but they have wins over USC and Washington State on their resume and enter the league tournament with three of four wins. Santa Clara won the only regular-season meeting 68-56 at home back on Jan. 3. Herb Sendek has NCAA Tournament experience and has a penchant for getting his teams to peak in March. But Santa Clara's seniors do not want their careers to end, and they will fight tooth and nail to extend their season. This should be a really competitive, really intense game.
West Coast Conference Tournament Predictions: I wish I could sit here and predict that anyone will take down Gonzaga. I can't do that. Rui Hachimura is the league's MVP. Brandon Clarke is a stud. Josh Perkins is one of the most experienced and accomplished point guards in the country. It would take a monumental effort for anyone to hang around with them. The only intrigue will be which team gets to be the sacrificial lambs at the Bulldogs altar. I think San Francisco can put up a fight in the semifinals. But that's about it. Gonzaga beat their potential title opponents - BYU and St. Mary's - by 30, 34, 48 and 14 points. Gonzaga should win its two games and walk into the NCAA Tournament with a No. 1 seed.
Robert Ferringo is a member of the Basketball Writer's Association of America and a professional sports handicapper for Doc's Sports. He is considered one of the best college basketball handicappers in the country and has posted 10 of 11 winning seasons. He is looking for a monster March run and will have an 8-Unit Conference Tournament Game of the Year next week. You can sign up for his college basketball picks and get more information here .
Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
Get all of this Weeks College Basketball Picks
Get all of this Weeks guaranteed Expert College Basketball Picks