Friday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Preview for Saint Mary’s vs. San Diego State
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Augustas Marciulionis
- Randy Bennett and Saint Mary's take on San Diego State in Phoenix as part of the Jerry Colangelo Classic.
- The veteran Gaels are 10-2 on the season, while the Aztecs have lost two of their last four games.
- Keg breaks down this matchup from top to bottom below and offers up a best bet.
Saint Mary’s vs. San Diego State Odds
|Saint Mary’s Odds|
-110o / -110u
|San Diego State Odds|
-110o / -110u
One of the best games of the Friday slate won’t tip off until 10 p.m. ET, but I expect it to be more than worth the wait.
The Saint Mary’s Gaels will look for their third win in a row against their toughest opponent since losing to Colorado State. The game will also kick off the Jerry Colangelo Classic, taking place this weekend in Phoenix, AZ.
These in-state rivals have met nine times in recent history, with Saint Mary’s leading the series 5-4. However, the Aztecs have won each of the previous three games, including the latest one in December 2020.
Saint Mary’s is coming off of wins over UC Santa Barbara and Stanislaus State. While the Gaels are 2-1 on neutral courts this season, they are just 1-2 against teams ranked 50th or better, per KenPom.
San Diego State, meanwhile, has yet to beat a team inside the top 100 other than Arizona State, which ranks 99th, per KenPom.
Both teams come into the game ranking top 10 in defensive adjusted efficiency, per KenPom, while also both ranking outside the top 275 in tempo.
With that said, will the race to 50 points be the key to victory in this matchup?
Saint Mary’s Gaels
The Gaels returned nearly their entire roster from last season and have been led by fifth-year senior Tommy Kuhse. Kuhse has been lights out from beyond the arc — shooting 50% — and has been even better at close range (52%). Also, he leads the team in assists at 3.7 per game.
In their last game, the Gaels were able to keep their home win streak alive, besting Stanislaus State, 76-39. While that matchup had no spread, Saint Mary’s has covered three of its last four games against the spread. On the season as a whole, it is 7-4 ATS.
The Gaels currently have the 266th-rated offense in the country, as they average just 68.1 points per game.
However, their defense has been one of the best, ranking eighth, per KenPom, in adjusted defensive efficiency. They’ve held opponents to an average of 59.3 points per game.
When it comes to matching up against San Diego State, they lead in nearly every category while also being more experienced.
San Diego State Aztecs
The Aztecs have not performed well under coach Brian Dutcher when coming off of long breaks. Now, after not playing in eight days, will they be able to change that trend?
The Aztecs rely almost completely on two players for offense: Trey Pulliam and Matt Bradley. Pulliam and Bradley are the only two on the team who are averaging double digits points in games this season.
Bradley has taken the lead for the Aztecs recently, scoring 22 points in each of the last two games.
Meanwhile, Pulliam will once again be asked to run the offense alone while Lamont Butler is still out with a fractured wrist. Pulliam has averaged 10.9 points per game this season, while also leading the team in assists at 3.3 per contest.
In their last game, the Aztecs limited Cal State Fullerton to just 56 points in a nine-point win. However, with their struggles on offense, they still failed to cover the spread of 12.5.
The Aztecs’ offense has been one of the worst in college basketball. They are 6-3 overall, but all those wins can be attributed to their strong defense.
Opponents have been held to an average of just 59.2 points against the Aztecs. Unfortunately, the Aztecs themselves have averaged just 63.4 per game.
San Diego State also ranks 265th in pace, with 68.3 possessions per 40 minutes. It is 313th in offensive rating, with 93.0 points per 100 possessions.
Saint Mary’s vs. San Diego State Betting Pick
Matt Bradley is one of the best mid-major players in the country. Unfortunately against a top-10 defense, I don’t think it will be enough. Saint Mary’s has been better on both ends of the floor, and I expect that to continue here.
Rust will also likely be an issue for the Aztecs, who haven’t played in over a week. I think they come out slow in this matchup on a neutral court.
The Gaels should also be able to impose their will around the basket, even though both teams match up closely in rebounds per game. The Gaels rank fourth in the country at limiting their opponent’s rebounds, allowing just 27.4 per contest.
I originally leaded to the under in this game, but personally, I think it is too low after opening at 119.5 and now dropping down to 117.5.
Instead I will be backing the Gaels in this one, as they opened up at -2.5 and have since moved down to -1.5. I would feel comfortable with the Gaels here as high as a 3-point favorite.