Gonzaga Bulldogs Vs. St. Mary's Gaels: Who Will Reign in the WCC?

Al ChadwickContributor IJanuary 27, 2009

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (14-4, 5-0 WCC) host the St. Mary's Gaels (18-1, 5-0) on Thursday at 8:00 pm PT.

Both teams remain undefeated in the West Coast Conference and are the only teams yet to lose in league play. The winner will take over the first place spot in the conference.

The Bulldogs have won 23 of their last 26 meetings against the Gaels.

St. Mary's has the nation's longest current winning streak with 15 games. They last defeated San Diego with an impressive 65-42 score.

The Zags have won their last six games and are looking very confident in conference play. They are averaging a 28-point victory margin over WCC opponents.


What to expect on Thursday

St. Mary's has dominated the boards and will continue to prove tough against the Zags. The Gaels are ranked seventh in the country, averaging 42.3 rebounds per game. They also average 8.5 more rebounds than opponents per game, placing them sixth in the nation.

Gonzaga has exhibited strong defense this year. They are ranked sixth in the nation for defensive field goal percentage, holding opponents to an average of 36.1 percent.

Expect the Zags to continue balanced scoring against the Gaels. There are four players on the team that average double figures, with less than five points separating the top four.

This balanced scoring will prove problematic for the Gaels. They can't just shut down one or two Zag players and expect to win.

Who to watch on the Gaels

Watch for Diamon Simpson. He has proven problematic for the Zags in the past for scoring and rebounding.


Who to watch on the Zags

Watch for another great game from, well, just about any of the starters. The key for victory for the Zags will be to shut down the inside game and prevent second-chance opportunities on the boards.


Overall, this is the game of the season in the West Coast Conference. Both teams have been playing well, and neither team will back down easily.

However, the advantage goes to the Zags. They are hosting the Gaels at home and have dominated all conference teams thus far.