BYU vs. San Francisco College Basketball Odds, Picks, Preview: Back the Dons as Favorites?

BYU vs. San Francisco College Basketball Odds, Picks, Preview: Back the Dons as Favorites? article feature image

Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Yauhen Massalski.

  • Saturday's college basketball slate starts to wrap up at 11 p.m. ET with BYU vs. San Francisco.
  • The Dons have been riding high this season, as they own the best record in the West Coast Conference at 15-2 with an undefeated mark in conference play.
  • Keg explains how to bet this late-night showdown below.

BYU vs. San Francisco Odds

Saturday, Jan. 15
11 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
BYU Odds
-110o / -110u
San Francisco Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

BYU will look to bounce back Saturday night after an embarrassing loss to Gonzaga on Thursday. The Cougars fell, 110-84, after giving up the most points since a 113-103 loss to Weber State in December 2018.

BYU also failed to cover a +14.5 spread, marking the first time BYU has failed to cover in its last three games. The loss moved the Cougars out of first place in the WCC, dropping all the way to fourth.

San Francisco, meanwhile, is enjoying one of its best seasons in school history, sitting at 15-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play. The Dons are tied for first in the WCC and are ranked 34th, per KenPom.

In their last game, the Dons knocked off Loyola Marymount and managed to cover the spread as a 9-point favorite, winning 97-73. It was their first win against the spread in their last three games and moved them to 5-10 ATS on the season.

This game, in all reality, is the beginning of a fight for second place. The WCC is stronger this year than it's been in the past, but it's still hard to see anyone knocking off Gonzaga.

There are also a few long streaks in play for this game. The Dons have not lost a game at home yet this season, holding a record of 11-0. However, under head coach Mark Pope, BYU has never lost back-to-back regular-season games dating back to April 2019, when he took over. So, which streak will end on Saturday night?

The Cougars are 25-6 in WCC games since Pope took over, including an appearance in the 2021 WCC Championship game. Saturday's matchup will be the 31st meeting all-time between BYU and USF,  a series in which the Cougars currently hold a 21-9 lead.

BYU has also beaten San Francisco in their previous three contests.

BYU Cougars

BYU enters the game currently ranked 30th in the NCAA NET rankings and 26th, per KenPom. The Cougars also rank 117th nationally in scoring, posting 72.7 points per game.

Brigham Young's offense has been solid, but it's relied heavily on just two players who are the only ones on the team recording more than nine points per game. Alex Barcello, who moved up to 50th on the all-time scoring list on Thursday, is averaging 16.8 points per game to lead the Cougars. Te'jon Lucas is second on the team, posting 101. points per contest.

The defense for the Cougars has allowed 65.5 points per game. Two factors have been huge for BYU in limiting opponent scoring: 3-point defense and blocks.

BYU is 17th in 3-point scoring defense in the nation, allowing opponents to hit just 27.8% of their shots from deep.  

Meanwhile, Fousseyni Traore recorded his 23rd block of the season Thursday, tying him with Fred Roberts for the 10th-most blocks by a freshman in program history. As a team, BYU is averaging 3.8 blocks per game. 

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San Francisco Dons

The Dons rank just one spot behind the Cougars in the NCAA NET rankings but are eight spots behind BYU in KenPom rankings at 34th.

Offensively, the Dons have managed to put up a total of 76.7 points per game. They're also one of the best 2-point shooting teams in the country, ranking sixth and hitting 58.2% of their shots.

USF guards Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz have caused havoc against BYU in every meeting they've had.

Two years ago at USF, Shabazz scored a career-high 32 points on 10-of-10 shooting from the field and was 6-of-6 from 3-point range. That same day, Bouyea scored 23 points, making 10-of-15 shots. Their performance led to an 83- 82 win over the Cougars.

This season, Bouyea has emerged as the leading scorer for the Dons, averaging 17.8 points per game. He's also posted double-digit scoring efforts in 14 games this season, posting a season-high 30 against UNLV on Dec. 4.

But this season, someone other than Shabazz and Bouyea will present a problem for the Cougars

San Diego transfer Yauhen Massalski is having the best season of his college career in his first season with the Dons. He currently leads the WCC in field goal percentage, offensive rebounds, and total rebounds. Massalski also sits second in blocks, made field goals, and rebounds per game. He's a difference-maker for San Francisco and someone the Cougars will need to find an answer for.

The defense for San Francisco has allowed a total of 64.7 points per game. Massalski will be force around the basket when it comes to rebounds and blocks.

BYU vs. San Francisco Betting Pick

BYU is without a couple of seniors — Gavin Baxter and Richard Harward — for the rest of the season. I think that will have a major effect on BYU playing two of the best teams in the WCC just two days apart.

San Francisco has been dominant at home, and BYU just posted its worst defensive effort in three years. Pope is a great coach with a great team, but I think his streak of not losing back-to-back games finally comes to an end on Saturday night.

Lay the points with the Dons.

Pick: San Francisco -6 or better.

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