The West Coast Conference Tournament wraps up tonight when a couple of usual suspects battle it out in Vegas’ Orleans Arena. Gonzaga makes an appearance in the final for the thirteenth straight year and will battle St. Mary’s, a team they seem to play about 25 times a year. More importantly, though, it’s your last night in Vegas and while I applaud you for not crashing yet, it’s time to hit it big. So, go take out that tax return and hit the sports book. These are five locks for tonight’s West Coast Final.
1. These two teams are dancing – At this point, Gonzaga is essentially a lock for the tournament every year. They’ve put together a pretty impressive non-conference schedule and their tournament spot is as guaranteed as charges after a night out with Ben Roethlisberger. St. Mary’s, on the other hand, finds itself on the “in” side of the bubble right now and, depending on some other conference tournaments, could go either way in the next six days. I’ll go out on a limb, though, and guarantee a spot for St. Mary’s. And that confidence means only one thing. This contest is more about the seed than Michelle Duggar.
2. Omar Samhan will roll an ankle – In all my years of watching college basketball (thousands of years), I’ve never seen a guy wear low-top basketball shoes (that’s what the kids call them, right?). That is, of course, until St. Mary’s star Omar Samhan. Samhan is a towering six feet-eleven inches tall and his shoes measure about three inches high, a move not heard of since people half-way started taking basketball seriously in about the 4th or 5th grade. No word yet on whether or not Samhan wore jeans to Little League practice or not.
3. “Bedhead” Ben Allen determines St. Mary’s fate – The former Indiana Hoosier has made the most of his playing time this year, which has increased from nine to twenty-seven minutes per game. When the Australian disappears from time to time on his walkabout, the Gaels suffer. In their last 13 games, St. Mary’s has won 10 games and Bedhead has averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds on 55% shooting in those wins. In their three losses (two to Gonzaga), he’s contributing only 4 and 4 on 36% shooting. Gaels fans better hope Caesar’s Palace serves Vegemite.
4. Robert Sacre has a chaperon – I won’t pretend to be extremely familiar with Gonzaga. After all, I don’t smoke weed or listen to jam bands. But, I do feel fairly confident after reading this profile in the student paper that Bulldog big man Robert “Sacretes” Sacre has been assigned a chaperon for Vegas and is to operate only under the buddy (and ankle bracelet) system. What we learned from this profile is that he only goes to Tuesday classes because the girls are hot, the louder the music, the better, he sleeps during his Christian Leadership course and is “quick sand” in a group setting. If anyone is stealing Tyson’s tigers, it’s Sacretes.
5. Mark Few will rise to the top – Just like cream (and ironically, unlike Cream), Mark Few is set to rise to the top tonight. In another Beisner guarantee, I’m promising a Zags victory, making Few the all-time winningest coach in Bulldog history. His 291st in will put him ahead of the late Hank Anderson, who took about a decade longer to reach his number. It also means that Few will cut down the WCC nets for the 8th time. And, with his alma mater boasting an open job in Eugene, it might be the last time he’ll be able to say the Slipper Still Fits.
Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s (9:00 PM)