30 second game guide
Bring’em Out: No. 24 (Coaches Poll) Saint Mary’s Gaels 17-3 (5-0 WCC) vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs 13-7 (3-2 WCC) at the McCarthey Athletic Center, Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
Watch for: Saint Mary’s to hand the Zags’ their third straight WCC loss. I’ve never predicted a Gonzaga loss in a game guide, but after the last two, I’m a bit gun-shy. The Gaels are also coming off a loss (89-70 at Vanderbilt), ending their 11-game winning streak and will no-doubt be gunning to avenge it Thursday. I’d say the same about GU, but following the loss at Santa Clara, the Bulldogs still seemed listless at San Francisco Saturday. You’d think losing to an inferior team on the road would be enough to fire a team up and proceed to beat-down the poor next team on the schedule. We saw no such thing. Hopefully, my alma mater proves me wrong and finds a way to win.
Fear: Pick something. The Gaels are ranked for a reason. If Gonzaga loses this game, you can kiss an 11th straight WCC regular season title goodbye. A loss would mean SMC owns a three game lead in the conference and the Gaels don’t have a collapse of that magnitude in their make-up this season. Saint Mary’s is a top-10 team in the nation in points (8th), assists (3rd), and field goal % (3rd).
Respect: Gonzaga’s record in the new Kennel. Only once have the Bulldogs come out on the losing end of a conference game in the McCarthey Athletic Center (an 84-73 L to Santa Clara in ’07). Going back to 2005, the Zags are 44-1 in their own gym against WCC schools. Unfortunately, that record won’t be enough to beat Saint Mary’s Thursday. An “A-game” effort will be needed for 40 minutes to come away with a win.
Random Stuff: Saint Mary’s is 0-6 vs. Gonzaga all-time in the McCarthey Athletic Center. GU opened as a 4-point favorite (has since dropped to 2.5-points).