30 second game guide
Bring’em Out: Gonzaga Bulldogs 19-9 (9-3 WCC) vs. Saint Mary’s Gaels 22-6 (10-2 WCC) vs. at the McKeon Center, Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
Watch for: The most anticipated rematch for Gonzaga in years to live up to its billing. I don’t think anyone predicted the next time the Zags and Gaels hit the same floor, it’d be with first place on the line. When Saint Mary’s dealt the Bulldogs that huge blow in January, knocking GU three games back of the WCC lead, second place seemed like the best hope for the Zags. A Gaels loss at Portland, then at San Diego coupled with Gonzaga’s six-game conference winning streak, and all of the sudden, first place is up for grabs again. We’ll see who wants it more.
Fear: The Bulldogs discovering who they are…finally. After that rough non-conference season, we all thought this Gonzaga team had learned its roles, and limitations. A hasty assumption. Three straight WCC losses later, and it looked like the program had returned to square one. Now, with guys like David Stockton and Marquise Carter logging significant minutes every game, this team has really figured out how to play together…and win.
Respect: The Gaels in their own gym. I could say Mickey McConnell, but there’s much more to fear from SMC than just one guy. Coming off their first home loss of the season to #24 Utah St. on Saturday, the Gaels will no-doubt be gunning to avenge it against their arch rivals.
Random Stuff: Saint Mary’s opened at a 3.5 point favorite. If Gonzaga wins and finishes with the same conference record as the Gaels, it would win a share of its 11th straight WCC title. However, the Bulldogs would still receive the 2nd seed in the WCC Tournament, because the tie-breaker shifts in SMC’s favor.