College Basketball 1/29/09: Mitch Picks St. Mary's at Gonzaga

Mitch WilsonSenior Writer IJanuary 29, 2009

No. 18 St. Mary's (17-1) at No. 25 Gonzaga (14-4)

The Line: Gonzaga -8

While we've all known about Gonzaga for years, I don't think Gonzaga vs. St. Mary's is a game most people think of when they think of two top 25 teams colliding. This one isn't just for national recognition either, this one is for first place in the West Coast Conference.

St. Mary's comes in sporting an impressive 17-1 record but their strength of schedule is a not so impressive 250th and their one loss comes against their only opponent who had an RPI in the top 50 as Gonzaga does. While Gonzaga's strength of schedule isn't that strong either, 99th, they have played five teams with top 50 RPI's and this is their fourth game against a team ranked in the top 25; I always feel there is something to be said about being battle tested.

St. Mary's is 8-5-1 against the spread this year while Gonzaga is 9-7 against the number. St Mary's is 5-0 against the spread in their last five road games and 8-3-1 against the spread in their last 12 overall, the Gaels are just 3-9-1 against the spread in their last 13 games against teams with a winning record.

Gonzaga is 11-5 against the spread in their last 16 home games. The home team has covered the last four times in this series and the favorite has covered five of the last seven. While I think ST. Mary's is a good team, I prefer to go with teams who are battle tested when the big games roll around.

Mitch's Pick: Gonzaga -8

See all of Mitch's College Basketball Picks Against the Spread