The Wooden Legacy Tournament title game will take place on Thursday night. The Washington Huskies, out of the Pac-12, improved to 4-1 on Wednesday night after squeaking by Fresno State. Saint Mary’s improved to 6-0 after pulling away from Vanderbilt in the nightcap on Wednesday night. The opening tap for the tournament title game is set for 12:30am EST.
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Huskies SurviveThe Washington Huskies didn’t set the world on fire in their opening round win over Fresno State. The Huskies shot just 37.9% from the field but survived thanks to the Bulldogs shooting just 37.7% from the field. Keion Brooks led the Huskies with 16 points in the grinding 62-57 win. Washington was able to win despite not scoring a field goal in the final two and a half minutes of the game. They will have to find their shooting touch if they want to take the Wooden Legacy crown on Thanksgiving night.
Washington’s shooting performance on Wednesday night was surprising given that the team is shooting a respectable 45% from the field this season. They are also shooting 37% from three-point range heading into the tournament but hit on just 5-of-23 3pt field goals against Fresno State. They were also dominated on the boards against Fresno State, 44-33, despite owning a +2.2 rebounding differential on the season.
Gaels Sail OnThe Gaels had a below average first half against Vanderbilt and still led by eight at the break. St. Mary’s proved that they are not beholden to the three-point shots as they only attempted four in the first half, converting one. For the game, the sharp-shooting Gaels were just 3-of-11 from downtown. Freshman guard Aiden Mahaney and junior center Mitchell Saxen led the way for Saint Mary’s with 20 points and 19 points respectively as Saint Mary’s survived an early Vanderbilt spurt for a 75-65 win.
Coming into the tournament, the Gaels held the largest point differential of the four teams, with a +22 point differential. They come in shooting 45% overall and an impressive 43% from 3pt range. On Wednesday, they decided to show their strength in the paint and were able to do so rather easily against a power-five conference team in Vanderbilt. They will likely take the same interior approach against a Huskies’ team that was dominated on the glass by Fresno State and allowed the only Bulldogs player of size, Isaih Moore, to put up a double-double.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Saint Mary’s proved on Wednesday night that they can beat teams from beyond the arc as well as in the paint. Given the performance of Washington’s interior defense against Fresno State, the Gaels will likely choose to play this game in the paint. Saxon will likely be the focal point of their offense yet again. Once the Huskies start to shift their defense to protect the paint, look for the Gaels to start launching from beyond the arc. Saint Mary’s will dominate the glass in this game and certainly control the pace of the game as a result.
Take Saint Mary’s.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams have played at a very slow pace of play thus far this season, specifically the Gaels. Given Saint Mary’s dominance on the boards, they will dictate pace of play in this one. While the Gaels will hit their shots at a much higher rate than the Huskies will, this will stay under the total because Washington will not do enough to help this game get to the total. Look for a game played at a deliberate pace that will stay under the total.
Take the under.