College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Saint Louis vs. Iona (Tuesday, Dec. 6)
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Javon Pickett (Saint Louis)
- Iona hosts Saint Louis in New Rochelle on Tuesday evening as Rick Pitino faces off against his former player at Kentucky, Travis Ford.
- The Gaels are playing their third game in five days and haven't succeeded this season against top-notch competition.
- Will that hold true in this non-conference matchup? Keg breaks it all down.
Saint Louis vs. Iona Odds
|Saint Louis Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Gaels are coming off of two big wins this past weekend, beating Niagara by 22 and Canisius by 30.
Iona’s 30-point win over Canisius was its largest victory over a MAAC opponent in the regular season since 2018 and its largest win at any point under head coach Rick Pitino.
And while the Gaels appear to be firing on all cylinders right now, this could not only be their biggest challenge for the rest of the regular season, but one of their most important games.
The only team ranked inside the KenPom top-100 left on Iona’s schedule after Saint Louis is New Mexico. Sure, remaining undefeated at home is important, but this could be the Gaels’ last chance to really improve their resume.
Saint Louis has posted some impressive wins over Memphis and Providence, and went down to the wire with Auburn. And while the Billikens are already a tough opponent, this will also be Iona’s third game in five days.
Can the Gaels hold off the Billikens and add this crucial win to their resume?
The Billikens are 7-2 to start the season and are currently in the midst of one of their toughest stretches of their schedule. Iona is the second of four KenPom top-100 teams that Saint Louis will face in row.
The Billikens’ offense has been one of the most efficient in the country due largely to Yuri Collins’ ability as a facilitator. Collins leads the nation by a wide margin with 107 assists on the season — the next closest player comes in at 74.
Saint Louis’ offense leads the A-10 when it comes to scoring, rebounds, assists and free-throw percentage.
Gibson Jimerson has led the team so far with 14 points per game, but that may not be the case for much longer with how Javon Pickett has been performing.
Pickett has led the team in each of the Billikens’ last three games, putting up a career-high 23 points in their last game against Southern Illinois.
Defensively, the Billikens haven’t been bad; there’s just nothing that stands out as impressive or game changing, especially when matched up against an Iona team that is second in the nation in terms of limiting turnovers and sixth when it comes to steals.
One crucial area to watch against the Gaels will be rebounding. Saint Louis has been elite at creating second-chance opportunities, posting an offensive rebounding percentage of 33.7% while averaging 10.9 second-chance points per game.
Iona, meanwhile, has struggled, allowing teams to come down with an offensive rebound 30.6% of the time.
If Saint Louis is allowed to continue its dominance on the glass, it could easily translate to the scoreboard.
The Gaels have looked amazing, ranking inside the top 50 in points per game (78.5) while holding opposing teams to just 64.2 points per contest. They’ve posted an assist-to-turnover ratio that is ranked fourth in the nation and come in at seventh in field goals made per contest.
However, Iona has done this against six teams ranked outside the top 100, per KenPom. It has failed to come away with wins in both its meetings against teams ranked inside the top 150, per KenPom. The Billikens are currently ranked 41st.
Daniss Jenkins has been huge for the Gaels of late. In two games this past weekend, he averaged 20.5 points, 14 assists and just one turnover across 63 minutes of play.
On the season, he leads the team in points, averaging 18.2 per game. He’s one of five different players for the Gaels averaging in double digits.
The Iona defense has been better than Saint Louis’. And while I think the Gaels’ offense may be able to keep up with the Billikens’, there is one major concern when it comes to Iona: fouling.
The Gaels have averaged 18 fouls per game over the last five, while the Billikens are drawing 17.1 fouls per contest on the season. Not to mention, the Iona bench hasn’t been much help, producing just 11.8 points per game so far this season.
Saint Louis vs. Iona Betting Pick
Pitino holds a 3-2 lead all-time over his former player and the head coach of the Billikens, Travis Ford, who he coached at Kentucky.
But I think Ford and his Billikens team can even the series against Pitino and finally be the team to beat Iona in New Rochelle.
This Gaels team has played well, but that play has come against inferior competition. Saint Louis is the better team, and that will be displayed by its advantage on the glass.
Also, I expect a somewhat gassed Gaels team, as they will be playing their third game in five days.
Back the Billikens as high as a 3-point favorite.
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