For the third time this season, the two best teams from the West Coast Conference will meet on Monday night. The stakes will be elevated.
With an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament up for grabs, the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Saint Mary's Gaels will give it everything they've got at the Orleans Arena.
For Gonzaga, a No. 1 seed in the west region is on the line. The Bulldogs haven't played the toughest of schedules this season, but a 30-2 record and a thus-far perfect run through the WCC has many bracket projectors seeing the top line for coach Mark Few's squad. Led by junior big man Kelly Olynyk and do-it-all forward Elias Harris, Gonzaga is a very dangerous team that excels on offense, ranking fourth in the nation in offensive efficiency.
Saint Mary's is likely a lock for the NCAA Tournament, although a win on Monday would mean two things. For one, their wait on Selection Sunday would be far less stressful knowing they are already in the field of 68. For another, the win over the top-ranked Bulldogs would improve their resume drastically. Most see SMC as a 8-10 seed at the moment, but a win could move them up to a six or seven seed.
The Gaels, whose only two conference losses came against Gonzaga, rely on senior point guard Matthew Dellavedova to run the show on both ends of the court. On the season, Dellavedova is averaging 16 points, 6.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds a game.
Tipoff for the WCC championship game is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. ESPN will televise the action live. Fans can also catch the game streamed through ESPN3.