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St Mary's vs. Baylor

3/26/10

Just one year after playing in the NIT (National Invitational Tournament), the third seeded Baylor Bears find themselves in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Led by senior star LaceDarius “Lace” Dunn, the Bears have certainly come a very long way. The Bears will clash with tenth seeded St. Mary’s Gaels of the WCC who pulled off a big upset of Villanova in the second round. Will their Cinderella story continue, or will Baylor advance to the Elite Eight for a showdown with the winner of the Duke vs Purdue game? Both teams have a legitimate shot to win.

The Baylor Bears own regular season wins over Xavier, Texas (three times), and Texas A&M. They found themselves in a dog fight in the first round against Sam Houston State. The score was very close until the last two minutes. Baylor ended up winning 68-59. F-C Ekpe Udoh played great with 20 points and 13 rebounds. He also had 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. LaceDarius Dunn was solid for the Bears, adding 13 points and 6 rebounds. The junior has to be more careful picking up fouls. He fouled out of this game. The Bears could afford to beat a lowly team like SMSU without him, but they will need him against a team like St. Mary’s.

In the second round against Old Dominion, Baylor had a cushy 10 point half time lead. They quickly squandered it and found themselves in a dog fight for much of the second half before pulling away late for a 76-68 win. Lace Dunn went off for 26 points and 6 rebounds. However, he turned the ball over a whopping 6 times. He ended the game with 4 fouls. Udoh was contained and scored only 8 points. Tweet Carter played a tough game scoring 12 points and dishing out 8 assists. C Josh Lomars had 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting. He also had 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. All in all this game was a solid effort by the Bears, but they might have to step it up against the Gaels.

The Saint Mary’s Gaels are in the Big Dance on the virtue of their 81-62 win over Gonzaga to take top honors in the WCC Tournament. They had previously lost twice to the ‘Zags, but when their backs were up against the wall they responded. The first round pitted them against a very tough Richmond Spiders team. They pulled away in the second half of that game for an 80-71 win. C Omar Samhan went wild with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Mickey McConnell had 23 points, 4 assists, and 6 rebounds. The Gaels did a great job beating the Spiders on the boards. They were also decent at the charity stripe sinking 20 of 28 attempts.

In the second round the Gaels were a big underdog to Villanova. That didn’t scare them. They jumped out to an early lead and held off all rally attempts by the Wildcats. Omar Samhan had another great game scoring 32 points,2 blocks, and grabbing 7 rebounds. Mickey McConnell had 15 points for Saint Mary’s. The Gaels played well as a team and didn’t let Villanova intimidate them. If they play like that every game they will never be without a chance.

Omar Samhan played out if his mind for Gaels in the first two rounds. Will he be able to keep it up? Can Baylor to stop him? The matchup of Samhan and Ekpe Udoh will likely decide the outcome of the game. We will side with the Udoh and the Bears. They have a strong team and appear destined for the Final Four. The line here opened Baylor -3.5 and has been bet up to -4.5. We agree with the line move here as we have Baylor winning by 9. Sooner or later, odds are, the luck runs out for a team like St Mary's. There's a reason they call them "Cinderella". It really takes the stars to align for a team like St Mary's to continue winning at this point. The clock strikes 12.

Predicted Score Baylor 77 St Marys 68

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