Saint Louis vs Wyoming Odds, Prediction for Thursday
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Jeff Linder (Wyoming)
Saint Louis vs Wyoming Odds
Below, we have college basketball odds and a pick for Saint Louis vs Wyoming on Thursday, Nov. 16.
Saint Louis and Wyoming will face off on Thursday in the first round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational Tournament.
The Cowboys and Billikens both dramatically underperformed expectations last season. The Cowboys finished 9-22 a year after making the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, the Billikens began the year as one of the favorites in the Atlantic 10 and weren't ever really in the at-large discussion after the first few weeks of the year.
The majority of the core players from that Saint Louis team have since departed the program, including Yuri Collins, Javonte Perkins and Javon Pickett. Collins was the engine of the Billikens' offense for his entire career with SLU, as he finished as the program's all-time leader in assists.
Travis Ford has a very new roster and this group is generally inexperienced.
Wyoming also is replacing a ton of talent from its program after injuries and departures completely derailed last season. The Cowboys probably reached their ceiling as a program in 2021-22, but the fall off last year was too low given the quality of head coach Jeff Linder.
This early-season matchup comes down to which team's talent you expect to gel faster.
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Saint Louis' defense was a major issue for it last season and the primary culprit for why it underperformed as a team. If you look at how this team profiles, the offense is projected to take a significant step back while the defense is marginally improved.
Per EvanMiya.com, Pickett, Jake Forrester and Perkins all graded out well below average from a defensive perspective. All of them are gone, and the new pieces coming in project as marginally above-average defenders.
The Billikens' offense really pushed the pace in their first two games against two horrendous defenses in Southern Illinois and Illinois State. Neither defense was offering much ball pressure and both generally had very short defensive possession lengths.
The matchup against this Wyoming team is far different. Without a true point guard to push the pace constantly — like Collins did last year — I do expect the Billikens to play marginally slower. They rank 70th in tempo thus far, but those numbers are inflated given the opponents they played.
There are going to be very few second chance opportunities in this matchup at either end. This version of SLU is quite undersized overall, and it wasn't able to dominate the offensive glass against two poor defenses.
I don't expect the Billikens to do that against a Wyoming defense that makes defensive rebounding a huge priority and doesn't look to run in transition at all.
This is an excellent matchup for the reigning second-leading scorer in the A-10, Gibson Jimerson. He shot 40% from 3 last year and will face a soft Wyoming defense.
The Cowboys do have some size at the rim, though, and could be much improved at preventing easy layups.
Wyoming made the NCAA tournament two years ago thanks to two high-usage, ball-dominant monsters in Graham Ike and Hunter Maldonado. Ike didn't play last year and Maldonado missed time with injuries.
The post-up-heavy era of Cowboys basketball is now over, as this version of Wyoming looks more perimeter-heavy. Linder commented in the offseason that this team would look more like his Northern Colorado teams of the past that shot and slashed from the perimeter.
Tulsa transfer Sam Griffin is the new point guard. He posted some quality assist numbers, but there's some real questions about whether the Cowboys have enough offense this year.
You always trust Linder to have a well-designed, schemed offense, but there's not a ton of efficient shot making outside of Division II transfer and All-American Akuel Kot.
The market is undervaluing the improved rim protection of the Cowboys this season. They basically didn't have a rim protector once Ike was out last year, and the defense suffered as a result.
The perimeter defense won't be great, but this group has a lot more size and depth to throw different looks at teams in the middle. The Cowboys aren't going to force many turnovers, but they also will guard the 2-pointers and grab most defensive rebounds.
Saint Louis vs. Wyoming
Betting Pick & Prediction
It's no surprise to see this total open at 151, given that's exactly where KenPom has the total projected. Since it's an early weekday tip-off in a neutral venue — and given the fact that not many second chance opportunities are projected — this total is multiple points too high.
The Billikens don't have the same elite offense that they did last season because of all of the departures.
The biggest weakness for SLU last season was transition defense, and Wyoming is not the team to push the pace and run the floor. Both teams could get to the line a ton for free points, but this total is multiple possessions too high.
I'd bet under 148 or better.
Pick: Under 150.5 (Play to 148)
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