St. Mary's vs. Gonzaga preview: Zags seek redemption in WCC heavyweight clash

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After the St. Mary's Gaels took the WCC regular season and tournament titles from the Gonzaga Bulldogs in 2012, Mark Few's No. 9 team has a chance for redemption.

The class of the West Coast Conference is no longer only inclusive of the Gonzaga Bulldogs. As of last year, the St. Mary's Gaels made that clear.

In 2011-12, Randy Bennett's squad broke the 11-year streak of WCC regular season titles or shared titles by the Zags. The Gaels and guard Matthew Dellavedova then beat Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament's championship game.

Dellavedova, a senior out of Australia, has one final go-around this season, and coming into Thursday night's game in Spokane, Wash., he enters with a 22.6 point average against the Bulldogs. Dellavedova averages 17.4 points and 6.7 assists a game this season.

Like Bennett, Gonzaga has reaped the benefits recruiting outside the United States as well.

Look no further than 7' center Kelly Olynyk. The junior out of British Columbia redshirted last year but now leads the Zags with 17.1 points per game and is second with 6.6 rebounds. He's a handfull inside along with energetic power forward Elias Harris.

At 15-1 on the year, the Bulldogs have only floundered against the then-No. 13 Illinois team. And the Gaels may not have quite the firepower -- nor the resume -- as the Bulldogs.

But this is the rivalry game of the WCC, and if Dellavedova and his hot shooting crew continue to hit from outside (40.5 percent from three-point range on the year), Gonzaga might find itself vulnerable once again.

Time: 11 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN2

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