College Basketball Betting: West Coast Conference Tournament Preview
The elite of the West Coast Conference will make their annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas to see who will get a guaranteed spot in the NCAA Tournament beginning on Thursday. Both Gonzaga and BYU have done more than enough to ensure dancing in March, with the ‘Zags likely to get a #1 seed in one of the regions. If a team besides the Cougars and Bulldogs were to win this tournament, it would throw a real wrench into schools from the major conferences that are currently considered to be on the bubble.
Favorite – As mentioned above, this tournament is pointing to a BYU vs. Gonzaga final, as the teams would meet in a rubber match after splitting both regular season games (each winning convincingly at home). Both of their previous matchups went OVER the total, by an average margin of six points. However, the pace would potentially slow in a championship game, as the schools would be playing their second game in two days following their automatic bye into the semi-finals. For reference, their regular season games were played to 74 and 73 possessions, respectively.
Darkhorse – Winners of eight of their last nine games, Pacific would be deemed a relative longshot due to how top-heavy the WCC has been throughout this season. The Tigers would likely need to beat both Gonzaga and BYU on back-to-back days to earn the crown (no small feat), but if we are looking at a value play based on the odds, Damon Stoudamire’s team may just be it. Pacific has proven that they can win both high-possession and low-possession games throughout this season. A methodical approach against Gonzaga in the semifinal (if the Tigers can get there) may be just the way to slow down one of the better OVER teams in the country.
What to Bet – In the Saturday quarterfinal, Pacific would likely play either San Francisco or Loyola Marymount, both of whom would be playing their second game in as many days. While San Francisco is about average in pace, Loyola Marymount is one of the most methodical teams in the entire country (349th in pace, per KenPom). Given the taxing nature of so many games in such a short time, my money would be on those schools wanting to play even slower than they have throughout the season. Of note, in Pacific’s last games against both potential opponents, the UNDER was the play by a wide margin (26 points against San Francisco and 9.5 points against Loyola Marymount). Assuming that’s the matchup, I will be taking a hard look at the total in the quarterfinal.
Odds to Win Tournament
Saint Mary’s +700
Santa Clara +6000
San Francisco +9000
Loyola Marymount +20000
San Diego +20000