Gonzaga Bulldogs (24-6, 14-3) at Saint Mary’s Gaels (21-9, 11-6)
Date: Saturday, March 1, 2014
Location: McKeon Pavilion, Moraga, Calif.
Time: 7:00 PM PST
This Season: Gonzaga smacked Saint Mary’s 73-51 in Spokane
James Walker III
Gary Bell Jr.
As we often do for big games, Josh and I sat down and had a talk…
ST: SMC has been a let-down in conference play and Gonzaga hasn’t been the typical Gonzaga team we have known to love and hate. SMC is essentially playing for pride and momentum while a loss to the Gaels for Gonzaga combined with a loss in the WCC Tournament could spell NIT for the Zags. Who needs this game more?
JH: That’s a tough one. I would say Gonzaga needs it more because a resume booster would be nice going into postseason play. The Zags resume this season is not as great as it has been in the past, and the Bulldogs are fighting to stay off the bubble. Saint Mary’s would benefit from a win, but I don’t think a win over Gonzaga would put them in the tournament conversation. What about you, who do you think needs it more?
ST: As sad as it is, probably Gonzaga. A loss by the Gaels, particularly an embarassing one, could maybe force them to play well in Las Vegas. I win by the Gaels could maybe give them momentum to win in Las Vegas. A win by Gonzaga would certainly lock up their NCAA tournament bid. So, I think Gonzaga needs this one more.
JH: Player for Saint Mary’s you think has a good chance to go off for the Gaels?
ST: Bit of a shot in the dark here, to be honest with you, but I think Beau Levesque goes off.
JH: Interesting you say that, because I thought he has played pretty well recently, why do you think he will play especially well though?
ST: I would disagree with you, and in the likely hood that he reads this, he would disagree with you as well. If you were to look at the game log, the games the Gaels struggled in and lost, he didn’t play well. So, a big game for him, on Senior Night, (20 points, 13 rebounds) would be huge for the Gaels. Who goes off for the Zags? Pangos, Dower, Stockton, or none of the above?
JH: Dower. I think Pangos can be contained to a certain extent by one of the Saint Mary’s guards and Stockton isn’t really the kind of player that can do that necessarily (although he was had some big games). Dower has burned the Gaels in the past – 21 pts on 7-8 shooting his freshman year – and I think he has the ability to have a similar stat-line this year. Dower is a senior and he give great effort in potentially his last game ever against the Gaels.
ST: What do the Gaels need to do to win?
JH: They need to dominate the perimeter, something I think they can do. By locking down the Gonzaga guards and knocking down their shots on the offensive end of the floor. I think Waldow will have a frustrating afternoon dealing with Karnowski in the post (assuming the big guy is healthy), and Carter, Holt and Walker III will need to step up. I think Holt is primed to have a good night. What do the Zags need to do to win?
ST: For the Zags to win, they will need to do three things: 1. Take the crowd out of the game (which, sadly, can be done this year….) 2. Get to the free throw line. Which isn’t terribly unreasonable. 3. Prevent Saint Mary’s from making their three’s (which would go along with number one). If they can do those three things, then they can win their fifth straight game over their rivals. Is SMC – Gonzaga a rivalry?
JH: In my eyes it is. The respective students, fans and the teams have accepted this notion, considering the two teams have been going at it for so long. Also, they are the two of the top teams in the West Coast Conference every year. So, yes its a rivalry. What do you think?
ST: I think it is, but, in a weird way. SMC is like 4-5 years away from becoming what Gonzaga is, and once they get to that level, it will be interesting to see.
JH: I agree, and maybe in that time Gonzaga could grow their program up to elite status as well.
JH: I think Gonzaga matches up pretty well and they looked pretty solid against Pacific. 75-72 Zags.
ST: Supposed to be pouring rain in the Bay Area, so I think the Gaels will rain down three’s and will rain down three’s hard. Gaels win 81-56 (which really means like 67-62…)