Grand Canyon vs Saint Mary’s Preview & Free Pick [3/22/24]

Grand Canyon (29-4) at Saint Mary’s (26-7)
When: Friday, March 22nd, 2024
Where: Spokane Arena,
Spokane, WA

Time: 10:05 ET | TV: TRUTV
Opening Odds: Saint Mary’s -5.5/133

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The Grand Canyon Antelopes are seeking their first ever NCAA Tournament victory when they face the Saint Mary’s Gaels in Friday night’s first round game in Spokane, Wash. Up until very recently, the ‘Lopes contended in Division II basketball, which is the level at which most of their tournament experience stems from. 2024 marks the program’s third appearance in the Big Dance, losing in both 2021 and 2022. Grand Canyon comes in having won and covered five straight games including an 89-74 win over UT Arlington in the WAC Championship. This will be first time all season that the Antelopes are an underdog.

Saint Mary’s comes in hot as well, winning 23 of its past 25 games and ranks second nationally in scoring defense at 58.7 points per game. The Gaels are in the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season for the first time in school history. Saint Mary’s lost in the second round each of the last two seasons – UCLA in 2022 and to eventual national champion UConn last season. The Gaels ended the season with a 69-60 over Gonzaga to claim the WCC Championship. Saint Mary’s and Grand Canyon met once in March 2016, with the Gaels winning 74-63.


Over is 20-7-1 in Grand Canyon’s last 28 neutral site games.
Over is 10-4-1 in Grand Canyon’s last 15 non-conference games.
Over is 42-19-1 in Grand Canyon’s last 62 overall.
Gaels are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
Under is 9-3 in Saint Mary’s last 12 NCAA Tournament games.
Over is 14-5 in Saint Mary’s last 19 vs. Western Athletic.


Grand Canyon has a strong offense which averages 79.8 points per game – tops in the WAC. The defense held opponents to just 66.9 points and 40.5 percent shooting (17th in the country). Guard Tyron Grant-Foster leads the team in points (19.8), steals (1.7), and blocks (1.4) and was the WAC Player of the Year. Gabe McGlothan is the top rebounder at 7.3, while adding 13.0 points of his own. Ray Harrison leads in assists but with only 3.9.


The Gaels dominated the WCC at 15-1 and finally dethroned Gonzaga for the conference title. Defense was the key, ranking second in points allowed and eighth in field goal defense. Saint Mary’s dominates down low also, allowing a nation-low 23.8 rebounds a game, while grabbing 39.5 rebounds of their own per contest. Two players average over a steal per game, Augustas Marciulionis (1.5) and Joshua Jefferson (1.2). Marciulionis also leads in assists with 5.2, while Aidan Mahaney is the top scorer with 13.9. Alex Ducas (10.1 ppg) is one of five double-digit scorers for the Gaels.


Grand Canyon had a terrific season, but this is uncharted territory for them. This is the first time they’ve been an underdog and rightly so. Saint Mary’s is just too good on defense and down low for the Antelopes. Experience and coaching is another advantage this team has. This is a trendy upset pick for most, but not me.

Pick: Saint Mary’s -5.5