Gonzaga Bulldogs (25-6) -7, 127.5 O/U vs. San Diego Toreros (20-13)
+7, 127.5 O/U, Jenny Craig Pavilion, San Diego, Calif., 9 PM Eastern,
by Badger of Predictem.com
The San Diego Toreros are sure taking advantage of their opportunities.
Playing on their home floor in the Jenny Craig Pavilion, the Toreros
needed every ounce of home-court advantage yesterday to reach the
West Coast Conference title game Monday night on ESPN. Waiting for
them is the perennial WCC favorite, the 22nd-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs.
San Diego used a 20-14 run in the second overtime to finally dispose
of St. Marys, 75-69, Sunday night in their semifinal game. It capped
off a furious comeback for the home team Toreros, as they closed a 13-
point deficit in the final seven minutes of regulation to get into
overtime in the first place.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga struggled mightily in their semifinal earlier in
the night. The Zags only made five shots from the floor in the second
half, but nailed 13-of-16 free throws to finally pull away from Santa
Clara, 52-48. The Bulldogs will be trying to win their fifth straight
WCC tournament title in their 11th straight appearance in the title
Incidentally, this will be the last season the WCC tournament will be
played on one schools home court. The WCC will be moving their
season-ending tourney to a neutral site starting next season, giving
the Toreros even more incentive to try and keep their streak of good
Online Sports Books opened the game with Gonzaga as 7-point favorites, despite
the game being played on the Toreros home floor. The over/under total
opened at 127.5. The few offshore sportsbooks that have listed the
early moneyline odds have Gonzaga pegged at -330, while San Diego is
listed at +280.
Gonzaga slipped past Santa Clara even though guard Jeremy Pargo
struggled throughout the game. Pargo, the WCC player of the year,
scored only four points and gave up four of the Bulldogs 17 turnovers.
It was Gonzagas depth that propelled the Zags into the final.
Forward Josh Heytvelt came of the bench to score a game-high 15
points, and fellow reserves Austin Daye and Micah Downs each added
eight points as the Zags bench outscored the Broncos bench 34-0.
San Diego guard Brandon Johnson scored a career-high 28 points,
including six crucial points in the second OT, to put the Toreros
into the title game tonight. Forward Gyno Pomare, who added 22 points
and 12 rebounds in the game, scored on a tip in with 55 seconds left
in the second OT to give San Diego just its second lead of the game
(their first lead didnt come until the first OT).
Gonzaga has owned the head-to-head matchup with San Diego, winning
the last 10 games SU while going just 5-5 ATS. The Zags won both
meetings with the Toreros this season, including a 59-55 victory on
the same Jenny Craig Pavilion floor on Feb. 18th, but the Toreros
covered the spread in both meetings.
San Diego sports a strong moneymaking 20-9 ATS record this year, and
is on an 8-1 ATS run in their last nine WCC games.
But Gonzaga is also peaking at the right time, as they are 6-1 ATS in
their last eight WCC games after finishing just 17-14 ATS for the year.
Both teams have strong defenses, so thus they tend to end more games
under the total than over. The under cashes in especially on Mondays.
The under is 7-2-1 in San Diegos last 10 games played on the first
day of the week, while Gonzaga has come in under the total in eight
of the last 10 games on Monday.
Badgers Pick: San Diego has been a covering machine, and the fact
they are playing on their home floor is huge. But I dont expect the
Zags to struggle again tonight. They played one of the worst games of
the year on Sunday and still found a way to beat Santa Clara. San
Diego had to play two extra overtimes too. Gonzaga hits free throws
down the stretch as the Toreros run out of gas to make this game a
backdoor cover. Take Gonzaga minus the points.