Sole possession of first place in the West Coast Conference is up for grabs in this game between Gonzaga and St. Mary's, as neither has lost in WCC play this season.
Last season St. Mary's shared the conference title with the Zags, which broke Gonzaga's 8-season streak as WCC champion and this game will have HUGE conference title implications.
Here are 5 reasons why Gonzaga will beat St. Mary's in their house on Thursday night.
1. Gonzaga is riding a season-high 8-game winning streak coming into this big WCC match up and in that span have beaten the solid teams of Arizona, Xavier, and last season's NCAA runner-up Butler.
All 3 of the Zags WCC wins (3) this season have been major blowouts winning by an average margin of just under 30 points.
2. Gonzaga has beaten St. Mary's 4 straight times on the Gaels home floor. On top of that the Gaels have lost 5 straight to ranked teams and coming into this game Gonzaga is the 22nd ranked team in the nation.
The Zags have beaten the Gaels by almost 14 ppg in their last 3 meetings at St. Mary's.
3. Besides beating Arizona, Xavier, and Butler Gonzaga also beat Notre Dame and their only losses have come to Illinois and Michigan State, who is the 6th ranked team in the nation.
On the other side of the coin St. Mary's was blown out facing the only ranked team they have faced this season in Baylor. Baylor is the only team from a major conference that the Gaels have faced this season.
4. While St. Mary's ranks higher in the nation in rebounds per game they will not be able to handle 7' C Robert Sacre (6.8 rpg) and Elias Harris (7.7 rpg) on the boards. Sacre and 6'9" Sam Dower, who has been on fire lately, have too much size for the Gaels to handle and the leading rebounder for St. Mary's is Rob Jones (10.5 rpg) and he is only 6'6".
5. Both teams are solid shooting the 3, but the Zags will drain them tonight, as their 2 leading scorers of Kevin Pangos and Elias Harris are shooting 40% and 48.5% respectively from behind the 3-point arc.