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2011 WCC Tournament Betting Preview

The St. Mary's Gaels and the Gonzaga Bulldogs have met up in the West Coast Conference tournament final in each of the last two years. Unless a major upset occurs in the tourney, expect the rubber match in this year's WCC Tournament championship game.

In 2009 the Bulldogs defeated the Gaels in the final to record their 10th tournament title. A year later the Gaels returned the favor by defeating the Bulldogs in the final to earn their first WCC tournament title since 1997.

[ Click here for a betting preview of this year's West Coast Conference Tournament ]

After sharing the conference title during the regular season the Gaels and Bulldogs enter the tournament as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. That means that won't play until Sunday, because the top seeds get a bye straight to the semifinals.

Starting off the tournament on Friday are the first-round matchups between the conference cellar dwellers: No. 8 Loyola Marymount takes on No. 5 Portland, while No. 7 San Diego faces No. 6 Pepperdine. The winners move on to face No. 2 Santa Clara and No. 3 San Francisco in the quarters, with the winners of those games headed to the semis to face the top seeds.

No offense to the rest of the tournament field, but unless a miracle happens either St. Mary's or Gonzaga is going to win this thing. Just look at the West Coast Conference betting odds at Bovada. The Bulldogs are big favorites at -150, followed by the Gaels at +180. The best West Coast Tournament odds after that are going to Santa Clara and San Francisco, both at +500.

The Gaels went 23-7 this season with an 11-3 record in the conference. Their record could look much better if not for a stumble down the stretch that saw them go 1-3 in their last four games. St. Mary's boasted the top offense in the conference this season led by their big three of Mickey McConnell, Rob Jones, and Matthew Dellavedova. When the Gaels' potent offense was firing this season it was hard for anyone to keep up.

The Bulldogs were 22-9 this season and also 11-3 in the conference. They stormed down the stretch, winning their last seven games. The Bulldogs ranked behind the Gaels in most offensive categories this season, but they beat them on the defensive end with the top defense in the WCC.

Gonzaga has a stout starting five highlighted by guard Steven Gray, seven-footer Robert Sacre, and flashy forward Elais Harris that is hard to match up with.

During the regular season the Gaels and Bulldogs split the season series with a win apiece. The Gaels clipped the Bulldogs 73-71 as a 4-point road underdog, while Gonzaga picked up an 89-85 win at St. Mary's as a 4-point 'dog.

West Coast Conference Tournament Odds at Bovada

Gonzaga -150
Pepperdine +2000
Portland +800
San Francisco +500
Santa Clara +500
St. Mary's +180
Field +1200