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St. Marys vs Richmond Picks – Can St. Mary’s Continue To Surprise In Madness Tourney?

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/17/2010 4:08:53 PM
NCAA Basketball Odds: Pick St. Mary’s

It had been years since the Gaels have not had to monitor the wire on selection Sunday to find out if their team had qualified for the National title tournament, which made this year’s berth that much sweeter for leading scorer Mickey McConnell and his teammates. After all, they had lost both of its regular season games against Gonzaga, and no one outside the St. Mary’s locker room could predict them not only stealing the West Coast Conference title from the Bulldogs, but dominating them in a 19-point college basketball betting victory. The Spiders had a different ending to their conference tournament. After dropping Massachusetts and upsetting Xavier, Richmond almost sneaked out an Atlantic 10 title before eventually conceding to Temple 56-52. The Spiders have had lots of time to think about it and put it behind them before a tough battle with the Gaels, a contest between teams playing with as much confidence as they have all season

St. Mary’s vs Richmond betting odds: St. Mary's
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: March 18, 2010
  • Where: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Key Stat: St. Mary’s Enter Tournament as WCC Champions

The St. Mary’s-Richmond Storyline

St. Mary’s won five conference games including the West Coast Conference title game, its first victory over eighteenth-ranked Gonzaga in three meetings in the campaign. Its only loss aside from the two to the Bulldogs, was a five-point overtime defeat on the road in Portland. With their first conference title win since 1997, the Gaels were awarded with a return to the March Madness bracket following a one-year absence, where they will look for a much better outcome then the first-round elimination they suffered at the hands of Miami.

The Spiders look to pick up from where they left off in their A-10 title loss to Temple. Despite never leading in the game, they held the Owls without a point in the final 6:32 of the game, and rallied for a respectable four-point loss after trailing by 12 at halftime. They not only had a chance to win that game, but missed a couple of easy shots in the final two minutes that sealed the loss. Now Richmond can turn its attention to the National title tournament, where a run to the Final Four will surely erase all immediate memories of the close defeat.

Offensive Matchups

The Gaels can flat out score. With five players that average 10.5 points or more, St. Mary’s are much more than a one-player scoring-machine, just don’t tell leading scorer Omar Samhan that. Despite that Samhan has scored over 20.9 points per game this season, St. Mary’s is excellent at passing the ball around and getting scoring throughout its lineup. Its offense was on full display in the WCC titl win, where the Gaels dropped 81 on Gonzaga for a 19-point win. It marked the ninth time in 16 conference games that they had topped the 80-point mark, and the second time in three playoff games. The backfield tandem of title-game Most Valuable Player Mickey McConnel and Matthew Dellavedova are the perfect complement to Samhan down low for this online betting March Madness contest.

The Spiders are no stranger to putting up points either, although not at the same pace as the Gaels. Leading scorer Kevin Anderson averaged 17.8 points and 2.6 assists to lead a team that had just two other scorers put up more than 10 points per game, but nine that had contributed at least one basket on average. Dan Geriot will have even more trouble down low against Samhan, and that will put even more pressure on Anderson and second-leading scorer David Gonzalvez to help Richmond keep pace should the defense falter early on.

Betting Edge: St. Mary’s

Defensive Matchups

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense, but even though the Gaels consistently put up high scoring totals, they still did an excellent job on the back end. What is more, St. Mary’s performed better defensively as the season went on, playing better when there was more on the line in the playoffs. Portland and Gonzaga, the two teams responsible for St. Mary’s three regular season conference losses, managed an average of 58.5 points for in the semi-final and title games, after averaging 84.5 points for during the regular season, a difference of an astounding 26 points.

The Spiders defense was much improved in the second half of their A10 conference title loss, rendering Temple scoreless in the final 6:32 of play in turning a 12-point deficit in to a four-point game. Richmond has shown they can play above average on the defensive side of the ball, but a big key to this game defensively will be the consistency of junior center Dan Geriot. Geriot and forward Ryan Butler will be asked to defend Gaels’ leading scorer Omar Samhan down low, a task not answered by many WCC opponents during St. Mary’s title run.

Betting: Edge: St. Mary’s

Betting Predictions: St. Mary’s vs Richmond

Richmond will look to put the title loss to Temple behind them by getting past the opening round but it will not be easy. The Spiders will need big games from Anderson and Gonzalvez, in addition to fiding a way to stop Samhan in the paint. Neutralizing an early attack from an upstart opponent will be the biggest key to victory.

The Gails could not be more confident heading in to the March Madness betting national title tournament. Sure winning the West Coast Conference is quite the accomplishment. However, the bigger deal here is that they finally found a way to bounce an opponent that had beaten them twice earlier in the season, and also snapped a nine-game losing streak versus ranked-Gonzaga teams. The Gaels aren’t done proving their worth yet, not after falling in the first round the last time they played March Madness ball.

Padula’s Pick: St. Mary’s

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