Gonzaga Basketball: Bulldogs Win WCC Championship and Cruise into March Madness

Hayden DeitrickFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2013

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 09:  Kelly Olynyk #13 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs looks to the basket during a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference Basketball tournament against the Loyola Marymount Lions at the Orleans Arena March 9, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images

Gonzaga basketball cruised to a 65-51 win over the Saint Mary’s Gaels to secure a 31-2 record overall, a perfect record in the WCC, a WCC Championship, and with any luck, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

St. Mary’s looked to hang around to start the game, but in the end, the Gonzaga frontcourt proved to be too much for the Gaels to handle.

Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris combined for 40 points and 16 rebounds.  The Zags dominated the paint and St. Mary’s had a difficult time defending the Bulldogs inside all night. 

Gonzaga showed just why it will be a threat in March with its versatility tonight.

St. Mary’s had a difficult time deciding whether to play the more defensive minded Mitchell Young, who proved to be a liability on offense, or the more offensive minded Beau Levesque, who could not body up Olynyk or Harris.

Pick your poison.

Gonzaga can truly hurt you from anywhere on the court.  With 12 team assists, Gonzaga is unselfish and incredibly close as a team.

The frontcourt was not the only star of the night, though.  Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. and David Stockton put on a clinic with a combined 16 points, eight assists, seven steals and 11 rebounds.

Some question whether or not Gonzaga can run up and down the court with the elite teams in the nation.  St. Mary’s is known for its run and gun offense behind Cousy Award finalist Matthew Dellavedova, who had a tough night trying to keep up with the Zags.

Gonzaga also played incredible defense against Dellavedova, one of the elite scoring point guards in all of college basketball.  It takes a lot to knock Dellavedova off his game, but he finished with just two points and seven assists; well under his season averages of 16.2 PPG and 6.4 APG. 

At the end of the day, the Bulldogs shut down one of the most efficient offenses in all of college basketball, and their wildly underrated defense will serve them well in the tournament.

The Zags will have a week to wait before Selection Sunday, when they will more than likely end up as a top seed in the West. 

The spotlight is about to shine brightly and the expectations are about to skyrocket. Gonzaga will have to continue to play as it did tonight to achieve the greatness it is truly capable of.

With the Bulldogs clicking on all cylinders heading into March Madness, you wouldn’t want to bet against them.