San Francisco vs. BYU Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back the Dons on Road (Thursday, February 3)
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Todd Golden (San Francisco)
- After losing by two in the first meeting between the two, San Francisco travels to BYU with revenge on its mind.
- The Cougars have lost two straight games, including one to Pacific.
- D.J. James explains which side to back after previewing the WCC affair.
San Francisco vs. BYU Odds
|San Francisco Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
In one of the most underrated matchups of the week, San Francisco will hit the road to play BYU in Provo, Utah.
BYU is coming off of two straight losses: one to Santa Clara on a buzzer-beater and one to Pacific. The Pacific loss is not what the Cougars wanted, given their ranking in both the WCC and college basketball overall. It definitely dings their resume.
San Francisco, on the other hand, just defeated Santa Clara, but has lost three of its last five.
BYU might win this one close, but this line is a bit too far, considering the talent on the Dons’ side.
San Francisco has played Gonzaga the closest out of all the WCC teams, even if it lost by 16 points. The teams were neck-and-neck throughout the first half, so this should provide plenty of tape going forward.
However, BYU has a few players that rely heavily on the 3-ball. San Francisco has a top-35 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency mark, per KenPom, and there’s a reason why.
The Dons thrive when guarding the perimeter, and will be able to lock down Alex Barcello and the other BYU wings in doing so. Barcello hits 46.5% from 3-point land this season, but San Francisco is top-15 in 3-point defense, holding the opposition to 28.5% from deep on the season.
In addition, the Dons are efficient inside the paint. The Cougars allow 47.2% of 2-pointers to fall for opponents this season, while the Dons shoot 55.5% from inside the arc.
San Francisco’s Yauhen Massalski is one of the best posts in college basketball, let alone the WCC. He shoots over 60% on the season, and this should provide a much-needed alternative to the outside shooting of the Dons.
Finally, San Francisco’s Achilles heel is turning the ball over. BYU ranks 327th in college hoops in defensive turnover percentage. Unless San Francisco shoots its own foot off, do not expect its usual 19.6% turnover rate.
BYU’s usual leg up on the competition comes from crashing the glass. The Cougars’ offensive rebounding percentage is 32%, and their defensive rebounding clip is 23.6%. Meanwhile, San Francisco owns rates of 31.3% and 25%, respectively.
That means the Cougars likely won’t have an edge unless they manage to get Massalski into foul trouble. In fact, he can have a tendency of doing so.
The Cougars also have the ability to defend the perimeter, and this will come in handy in this game. San Francisco shoots 34.6% as a team from downtown and BYU only allows 28.8% of 3s to fall for opposing teams. It doesn’t look like either team will be able to hit outside shots.
BYU is in a tough position inside. Yes, it can rebound, but it only makes 49.8% of its shots from inside the arc.
San Francisco does allow 47.8% on 2-pointers this season, so this will need to be where the Cougars manufacture shot opportunities. Otherwise, San Francisco has an advantage in the Massalski-Fousseyni Traore matchup on the interior.
San Francisco vs. BYU Betting Pick
BYU is a solid team that is currently projected to be on the 8-line of the NCAA Tournament by Bracket Matrix.
However, its WCC rival, San Francisco, is no slouch, either. The Dons started the season 10-0 and currently only have losses to Loyola Chicago, Grand Canyon, BYU, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.
This opening line underestimates the Dons, so they’re looking like the correct side to take.
San Francisco has an advantage down low with Massalski, and has the players to mitigate BYU’s 3-point attack.
Other than that, these teams are virtually dead even. That can be verified by the first game between the two, when the Cougars won by only two on the road.
Expect this West Coast Conference matchup to come down to the wire, so take the Dons at +2.5.
Pick: San Francisco +2.5