It seems weird to call a WCC contest one of the biggest games of the year, especially when the Zags have faced off against the likes of Texas, Kentucky, Purdue, Michigan State, and Alabama, among others.
But alas, here we are. The No. 12 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs head to the No. 18 ranked Saint Mary’s Gaels for a bizarre chance for the higher AP ranked team to be pulling the upset. That is largely because virtually every single advanced metric across the board ranks Saint Mary’s as the better team.
For Gonzaga, outside of another quality win and a demonstration that the team can play against an elite level defense, the win matters for WCC pride as well. The Zags currently trail the Gaels by one game in the WCC standings. Gonzaga has been the regular season WCC champion for 10-straight years (sharing the crown with Saint Mary’s one year). The last time they weren’t—2012. The team who took the crown—Saint Mary’s.
So there you have it. A big game with actual implications for when March rolls around. In WCC play, in early February, what a college basketball world we live in.