NCAA Basketball Picks & Odds: Saint Mary's vs. Gonzaga Predictions
We’ve got conference finals and semifinals galore tonight. College basketball is starting to hit its stride and that means there are tons of good games on the slate. Let’s take a look at a few and see if we can pinpoint some value, starting out West in the West Coast Conference semifinal between unbeaten and top-ranked Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.
KenPom, along with basically every other metric and team ranking around, loves Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are the nation’s best team according to the national coaches poll and KenPom’s Adjusted Efficiency Margin. Gonzaga’s +37.20 is almost a full five points higher than No. 2 Baylor’s. Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s is 76th in the country in AdjEM at +12.49.
The last time these two teams met Gonzaga pulled off a 22-point win. Corey Kispert dominated the Gaels, as he has pretty much every team the Bulldogs have faced, and it didn’t even require a massive game from second leading scorer Drew Timme. Timme and Kispert give Gonzaga the best frontcourt in the entire country and I expect complete domination from them tonight in the WCC semifinal. The Gaels don’t have enough scoring to keep up. We’re going to get a huge win from Gonzaga and I have no problem laying the 17.5 points.
Pick: Gonzaga -17.5 @ -110
Our second pick of the night comes to us from the other WCC semifinal game as Pepperdine takes on BYU in the nightcap. The Cougars come in laying around 8 points, depending where you look, and I love them.
These two teams have already faced off twice this year, in a back-to-back. BYU handled the Waves in Game 1, winning 65-54. But, just four days later, Pepperdine handed BYU one of its five losses on the season.
Alex Barcello has proven to be crucial in his senior season for the Cougars. He’s averaging over 15 points per game on 53.3% shooting, including an insane 48.9% from beyond the arc. But, in the loss to Pepperdine, he went just 3-11 from the floor and 1-6 from 3-point range. If we get the usual lights-out performance from Barcello tonight, and BYU can keep Colbey Ross and Kessler Edwards in check, I think we get a game that looks more like their first meeting than their second.
Pick: BYU -8.5 @ -110
The CAA has had some of the worst COVID-19 luck in all of college basketball this season, so we haven’t seen much of these two teams, despite the fact that they’re meeting in the conference semifinal.
Drexel is led offensively by Camren Wynter, the 6-foot-2 guard from Hempstead, NY. He put up 16 in the Dragons’ win over College of Charleston in the opening round and will look to get up a lot of shots against Northeastern.
For the Huskies, it’s the Tyson Walker show. Walker averages 18.6 points per game and put up 19 in their win over William & Mary.
The Dragons come in as one-point favorites, and we don’t have a previous game to gauge since they haven’t play each other yet. Drexel is the far better offensive team, but Northeastern’s a top-100 defensive team, according to Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. I’m rolling with the Huskies. I’ll take the point and bet on Walker doing enough on offense to let the defense win the game.
Pick: Northeastern +1 @ -110
NCAAB Expert Picks
Gonzaga -17.5 @ -110 (Click to bet)
BYU -8.5 @ -110 (Click to bet)
Northeastern +1 @ -110 (Click to bet)
Brian is a sports journalist with close to ten years of experience in the business. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan with a passion for all things sports gambling.