College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Saint Mary’s vs. San Diego (Thursday, February 24)

College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Saint Mary’s vs. San Diego (Thursday, February 24) article feature image

Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: St. Mary’s Gaels guard Logan Johnson (0) puts up a screen for San Diego Toreros guard Jase Townsend (1)

  • San Diego will host Saint Mary's for tonight’s showdown, with solid defenses on both sides.
  • The Toreros will rarely get shot opportunities down low, and Saint Mary’s will limit any second chances whatsoever.
  • That’s why our analyst is targeting the total — find his prediction and pick below.

Saint Mary's vs. San Diego Odds

Thursday, Feb. 24
10 p.m. ET
Saint Mary's Odds
-110o / -110u
San Diego Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Following massive wins over both San Francisco and BYU, Saint Mary’s hits the road to play San Diego after the Toreros dropped four of their last five. Both of these teams like to control the pace of the game, but the last time they played they scored a combined 143 points, which is relatively high for either of them.

Saint Mary’s is going to be the two-seed on the opposite end of the West Coast Conference bracket, while San Diego finds itself as the likely seven-seed. With no dramatic postseason changes taking place as a result of the final whistle of this game, let's break down how to target the total with these solid defenses.

Saint Mary's Gaels

The Gaels were able to take advantage of a porous defensive showing from the Toreros in their last matchup. However, USD is strong when it comes to not fouling opponents, playing into the favor of an under here. Saint Mary’s ranks 336th already in getting to the strike, so do not expect many fouls on behalf of the Toreros in this outing.

On the flip side, the Gaels tout a top-15 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom. They force opponents to utilize, on average, about 17.6 seconds per possession. They excel specifically at limiting offensive rebounds, ranking seventh in the nation with a 22.7% offensive rebounding clip against them. The Toreros only crash the glass offensively at a 27.4% clip, ranking 198th in the NCAA, so the Gaels will limit second-chance shots.

Saint Mary’s does lack the defensive competence to guard the perimeter well. The Gaels rank 213th in opponent three-point percentage at 34.4%. San Diego shoots 33.5% on the season, but has only manufactured 24.3% of its total points on threes this year, ranking 333rd. Even if Saint Mary’s allows the seventh-most three-point attempts on average, these two should offset each other.

On the offensive side, the Gaels have a few deep threats in Alex Ducas, Tommy Kuhse and Kyle Bowen. All three players shoot above 38%, so the Toreros will need to guard them tightly outside of the arc. Saint Mary’s gets around 32% of its total scoring from three-point shots. The Toreros have more strength in their guards than down low, so they have limited the opposition to 32.8% from downtown this season. Look for some regression for the Gaels, who shot over 43% in this last matchup with USD.

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San Diego Toreros

Now, San Diego averages 17.7 and 17.9 seconds per possession on defense and offense, respectively. This puts them at the 262nd-ranked tempo in college hoops, per KenPom.

One limiting factor, as touched on above, is that the Toreros only really have strong guards. Marcellus Earlington, Jase Townsend and Joey Calcaterra are the leading Toreros scorers. Terrell Brown is 6-feet-10-inches tall and the leading scorer in the post on the season for USD. He is questionable with a calf injury, so if he is a no-go, it is up to Yavuz Gultek and Vladimir Pinchuk to fill his shoes.

This is a slight to the already lacking Toreros attack. They have the 274th-ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, per KenPom, and much of this is due to being unable to score from down low. They only shoot 46% on two-pointers, ranking 308th in the NCAA. Saint Mary’s is definitely stronger in the interior, and this is a reason they were able to hold USD to only 57 points in their last pairing.

Saint Mary's vs. San Diego Betting Pick

Given the lack of offensive wherewithal coming from San Diego and the slow tempos of both of these squads, the total is the bet here. San Diego has not shown any offensive boost lately, and the Gaels like to control the game. The Toreros will rarely get shot opportunities down low, and Saint Mary’s will limit any second chances whatsoever. San Diego will need to score from outside the arc in order to win this game and shoot the total over. Take the under at 126.5 (-110) and play to 125 (-110).

Pick: Under 126.5 | Play to: 125

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