Upcoming Match-ups

Gonzaga a -220 Favorite in WCC Tournament Opening Odds

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in College Basketball

Updated Apr 9, 2020 · 8:45 AM PDT

Killian Tillie mean mugging
Killian Tillie and Gonzaga will meet Michigan for the Battle 4 Atlantis crown. Photo by @theathletic (Twitter).
  • The WCC Tournament runs from March 5th to the championship game on Tuesday, March 10th at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas
  • Gonzaga are the -220 favorites as the Bulldogs captured their eighth-straight regular season conference title following an 86-76 victory over St. Mary’s Saturday
  • Mark Few’s team has played in the WCC tourney title game 22 years in a row – but can any team pull the upset?

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-2, 15-1 WCC) cruise into the West Coast Conference Tournament as a -220 favorite in the opening odds. The Bulldogs rebounded from their only conference loss of the season last weekend (a 91-78 defeat to BYU on Feb. 22) with consecutive wins, including an 86-76 victory over St. Mary’s Saturday to capture the program’s eighth-straight regular season WCC crown.

Mark Few’s team has played in the WCC tourney title game 22 years in a row, winning 16 titles.

While the Zags are heavy favorites to capture their seventh West Coast Conference Tournament championship in the last eight years next week, they’re the consensus second-favorite to win it all in the 2020 NCAA Tournament odds.

Will the West Coast powerhouse somehow stumble in Las Vegas? Or should bettors trust the program that has won the tourney a staggering 73-percent of the time over the last two-plus decades to do it again?

2020 WCC Tournament Odds

Team (seed) Odds
Gonzaga (1) -220
BYU (2) +220
St. Mary’s (3) +800
San Francisco (5) +4500
Pacific (4) +4500
Pepperdine (6) +9000
Santa Clara (7) +9000
Loyola Marymount (8) +9000
San Diego (9) +9000
Portland (10) +9000

Odds taken March 2nd

WCC Tournament Bracket

2020 WCC Tournament Bracket

Been There, Done That (Again and Again)

Ever since the WCC tourney title game moved to the Orleans Arena from on-campus venues in 2009, Gonzaga has treated the Vegas venue like The Kennel South.

YouTube video

The Zags have won 39 straight at the McCarthey Athletic Center (the longest streak in the nation). Prior to last year’s loss to St. Mary’s in the conference tourney title game, Gonzaga owned an 18-game win streak at the Sin City location, dating back to 2012 (when the Bulldogs also lost to the Gaels in the title tilt).

YouTube video

In fact, out of the last 11 seasons, the only three losses in the WCC tournament by Gonzaga have come against St. Mary’s. That’s a run of domination unlike any other in college basketball. I fully expect this year’s version of the Bulldogs to start a new winnings streak in the desert.

“Greater Than the Sum of the Parts”

Following Saturday’s win over that same Gaels program that clinched a ticket straight to the semifinals of the conference tourney, longtime head coach Few said, “I’ve never had a team surprise me as much as this one did. We don’t have lottery picks. But they worked and listened and were coachable. Our whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.” Strong words from a coach that has seen so much talent pass through Spokane over the years.

The AP’s No. 2 team lost four starters from last year’s squad. Then, top returning player Killian Tillie was sidelined with an injury when this season started. But the Bulldogs found new stars and didn’t miss a step.

YouTube video

Filip Petrusev scored 27 points Saturday and leads the club in scoring this season, putting up nearly 18 points per game. Petrusev is one of six players that average in double-figures scoring for a team that leads the country in scoring at 87.8 points per game. The Bulldogs’ offense is a force I see continuing to dominate in Vegas.

Zags Have 1 Seed in Their Sights

The 2019-20 version of Gonzaga may not have the supreme talent of seasons past, but this year’s club is highly motivated for several reasons. For starters, the Zags need to keep winning to earn a No.1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament. If that happens, they can play the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Spokane Arena — which sits just minutes from campus.

Yes, the program nearly captured that elusive NCAA title three years ago before falling to North Carolina in the title game.

YouTube video

But this is a program that won’t get the respect of a true blue blood until it wins it all. Virginia stared down similar demons last year. Don’t be surprised if this Gonzaga club has similar results. And that march toward immortality start in the WCC Tournament.

Plunk down some cash and go with the chalk – these Bulldogs are ready to bark.

SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:

Author Image