Wooden Legacy Championship: Washington vs. Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks & Predictions
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Randy Bennett.
Washington vs. Saint Mary's Odds
Wooden Legacy Championship
The Wooden Legacy Tournament is entering its 16th year, this year taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.
Washington is coming off a rock fight with Fresno State in which they came out victorious 62-57. Kentucky transfer Keion Brooks did a little bit of everything for the Huskies with 16 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks, and 2 steals.
Saint Mary's managed to stay undefeated at 6-0 on Wednesday night after defeating Vanderbilt 75-65. The victory was a coming out party for freshman SG Aidan Mahaney, who had 20 points off the bench for the Gaels.
Are these two teams in for another low-scoring grudge match? Or does one offense have the upper hand?
Let's dive in.
Head coach Mike Hopkins is entering his sixth season as the head coach of the Huskies after a 17-15 season a year ago.
The offseason for Washington was marked by the arrival of 6-foot-7 forward Keion Brooks from Kentucky. Brooks provides much needed experience to a Washington team that ranks 219th nationally in minutes continuity from last season.
Washington opened the season with three straight wins, all against opponents outside KenPom's top 200. The Huskies then dropped their first game of the season against Cal Baptist 64-73. Cal Baptist was able to find success by slowing Washington down. Cal Baptist ranks 332nd in the country in Adjusted Tempo at 65.3 possessions.
This style of play will be similar to what Washington will see in their matchup with Saint Mary's. The Gaels rank 315th in the country in adjusted tempo. Saint Mary's head coach Randy Bennett has made his slow and methodical offense a staple, ranking outside the top 300 in tempo in his last eight seasons as the Gaels' head coach.
Because of this, efficiency on the offense end will be crucial for Washington to have success in this matchup.
Yet that efficiency will be anything but easy to come by against a Saint Mary's defense that ranks seventh nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency and fifth in 2P% allowed. This defensive matchup is worrisome for a Washington team that ranks 217th in 2P% at just 48%.
To make matters worse, Washington has relied heavily on their production inside the arc to have success this season. The Huskies get 55.7% of their total points from 2-pointers, which is 83rd in the country.
Look for Washington to struggle offensively in this one.
Saint Mary's comes into this championship game a perfect 6-0 after winning their first five games at home.
Last season, the Gaels lost to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference championship game for the third straight season. They then were knocked out in the second round of the NCAA tournament by UCLA.
Randy Bennett enters his 22nd year as the head coach for the Gaels, and he has to like the foundation for this year's team. Saint Mary's has a minutes continuity of 55.2% from a year ago, a season in which they finished 26-8.
The Gaels defense has been stout as ever to start this season, holding their opponents under six points in four of their first six games. No team has scored more than 70 points on Saint Mary's so far this season.
The storyline so far this season has been the offensive explosion of true freshman Aidan Mahaney. In the Gaels' most recent outing, Mahaney went for 20 points off the bench.
— Saint Mary's Hoops (@saintmaryshoops) November 24, 2022
This type of offensive production is crucial for a Saint Mary's team that prides itself on beating teams defensively.
Offensively this season, Saint Mary's has been the definition of efficient. The Gaels are inside the top 50 in adjusted offensive efficiency and 13th in 3P% all while posting an adjusted tempo of 66.0.
In Friday's championship game, Saint Mary's will do what they have been doing all year: make their opponent score on nearly every possession. This will be a difficult ask for a Washington team that is outside the top-200 in effective FG%.
Look for Saint Mary's to slow this game down to a halt and limit the scoring ability of Washington early and often.
Washington vs. Saint Mary's Betting Pick
At the time of writing, the over/under for this championship game has been set at 128.
Although a low total, I still see value in this number, given the way Saint Mary's has played defensively this season.
Additionally, Washington's offense has been defined by their success inside the 3-point line, an area that plays right into Saint Mary's defensive game plan.
Washington also does not have the ability to speed this Gaels team up, ranking 198th in tempo themselves. Saint Mary's will slow this game down on the offensive end and limit everything for Washington on the defensive end, giving value to the under.
Nothing better than a late night rock-fight to end Turkey day.
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