San Francisco vs. Gonzaga WCC Tournament Semifinal Picks and Prediction: Dons Face Huge Odds to Knock Out Bulldogs

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Khalil Shabazz #0 of the San Francisco Dons dribbles around Brandin Podziemski #22 of the Santa Clara Broncos in the second half of a quarterfinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

NCAAB Pick: San Francisco +14½ (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Talk about your one-sided conference rivalries, the San Francisco Dons will try and stop a 26-game losing streak against the Gonzaga Bulldogs when the teams meet in the WCC Tournament on Monday’s college basketball betting slate. 

San Francisco Dons vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Monday, March 6, 2023 – 11:30 PM EST at Orleans Arena

Is there anything less suspenseful in college basketball than whether Gonzaga will be part of the semifinals in the West Coast Conference Tournament? The Bulldogs have taken part in the last 25 such rounds of the tourney and gone on to the WCC Championship all 25 times. 

Gonzaga’s run of 25 consecutive WCC semifinals and WCC Championship Game appearances began in 1998, a year before Mark Few arrived in Spokane, and if San Francisco is going to end that string, the Dons are going to have to beat some stiff college basketball odds

Zags Draw Early Support from Bettors

Those odds include 14-point chalk heaved onto Gonzaga by BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review), that number went up from the initial -11½ the shop sent the Bulldogs out with. Bettors looking to play the scoreboard are looking at a 160-point total. 

How the Dons Got Here

San Francisco entered the season as the fourth choice in the WCC on the preseason NCAA basketball futures, trailing Gonzaga atop the list with BYU and Saint Mary’s between the Dons and Bulldogs. 

Chris Gerlufsen’s crew wound up in a three-way tie for fifth in the conference standings with a 7-9 record. The tiebreakers relegated the Dons to the No. 6 seed, and they responded by taking out No. 7 Pacific in the second round on Friday, 80-63. 

That final margin easily covered 9-point chalk against the Tigers, but San Francisco was then a small underdog Saturday against No. 3 Santa Clara. In one of the more entertaining games of the season, the Dons overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half to win 93-87 in double overtime. 

After a rather poor performance in the win over Pacific, Khalil Shabazz exploded for a career-high 38 in Saturday’s win over the Broncos. The senior from Seattle leads the Dons in scoring (16.9 ppg), rebounding (5.4), assists (2.9), and steals (2.1). 

How the Bulldogs Got Here

It really wasn’t a very smooth start to the campaign for Few and the Bulldogs. Gonzaga was ranked second in both preseason polls and was sporting a somewhat prohibitive price of around -1800 at the best Washington betting sites to win the WCC. 

Gonzaga was beaten handily in Austin by the Texas Longhorns in the second week of the season, and then roughed up by Zach Edey and Purdue at the Phil Knight Legacy in Portland over Thanksgiving weekend. 

A week after falling to Purdue, the Bulldogs lost a close one at the Peacock Classic to Baylor in a rematch of the 2021 National Championship, and a team that some thought wouldn’t lose three games all season was suddenly 5-3 just a couple of days into December. 

Few got his team back on course after that, losing just twice since the defeat to Baylor and locking up a share of the WCC regular-season title last week with a win at home over rival Saint Mary’s. The Gaels earned the No. 1 seed for the tournament via the tiebreaker. 

Rivalry Notes & Betting Trends

As luck would have it, San Francisco beat Gonzaga in the WCC Championship back in 1998 when the Bulldogs began their incredible string of 25 consecutive appearances in the conference championship game. 

The Dons have beaten the Bulldogs just four times in 55 matchups since, and Gonzaga has won the last 26 meetings after sweeping the two regular season clashes this year. 

Gerlufsen’s gang earned a ‘close, but no cigar’ sticker in the January collision in San Francisco where Gonzaga trailed most of the game only to escape with a 77-75 decision. The Bulldogs never trailed a month later at home for a 99-81 final as 14-point chalk. 

  • Gonzaga led wire-to-wire in the semifinals of last year’s WCC Tournament, beating San Francisco 81-71 as 14½-point chalk. 
  • Totals split in the regular season contests this season, and are 5-5 O/U the last 10. 
  • The Bulldogs have won the last 4 tournament meetings, but the Dons have covered 3 of those losses. 

Play the ‘Under’ & the Underdog

Gonzaga is more than capable of covering the big number on Monday, but it’s just too big for me to lay. Expecting a similar contest as the one the old foes played in the conference tourney a year ago, I’ll take the points and play the final ‘under’ with my college basketball picks

Final Score: Gonzaga 82 – San Francisco 70 

NCAAB Pick: San Francisco +14½ (-108) at Heritage Sports

NCAAB Pick: Under 160 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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Under 160 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.