Saint Mary’s vs. San Diego State College Basketball Odds & Picks: Back Aztecs to End Gaels’ Winning Streak
Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: San Diego State’s Matt Mitchell.
- San Diego State looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it faces Saint Mary's on Tuesday.
- Can the more athletic Aztecs bounce back in their last game before Mountain West play begins?
- Mike Randle previews this college basketball matchup and shares his betting pick below.
Saint Mary’s vs. San Diego State Odds
|Saint Mary’s Odds||+2.5 [BET NOW]|
|San Diego State Odds||-2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+124 / -146 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||127.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
San Diego State and Saint Mary’s will meet halfway between their campuses in a neutral-court game at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo, California.
The Gaels are coming off an impressive 53-33 trouncing of Colorado State, while the Aztecs suffered their first loss of the season to BYU, 72-62.
Will San Diego State bounce back in its last game before Mountain West play begins?
Saint Mary’s Gaels
Saint Mary’s is playing some of its best defense in head coach Randy Bennett’s 20 years at Moraga. The Gaels are top-25 in 2-point percentage allowed, limiting opponents to just 42%.
They enter this game on an eight-game winning streak after a season-opening, 73-56 loss to Memphis on Nov. 25.
Bennett’s teams are always strong on the defensive boards, and this year’s Gaels rank 20th-best in defensive rebounding efficiency, per KenPom. They have six players averaging 3.8 rebounds or more, led by forward Kyle Bowen’s 5.8 per game in about 20 minutes per night.
The Gaels’ leading scorer is senior Tommy Kuhse (15.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.3 APG, 38.5% 3-point), who has almost tripled his per-game scoring from last season. Sophomore Alex Ducas (10.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG), and 6-foot-10 forward Matthias Tass (10.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.1 BPG) help limit opponents’ second-chance opportunities.
The Gaels also spread the floor with sophomore Quinn Clinton (41.4% 3-point) and freshman guard Leemet Bockler (42.3% 3-point).
Bennett teams rarely beat themselves, ranking 32nd in the country with only 11.1 turnovers per game.
San Diego State Aztecs
In many ways, San Diego State is a mirror image of Saint Mary’s — but more athletic.
The Aztecs were off to a perfect 5-0 start before stumbling at home to BYU. They are ranked 26th in adjusted defensive efficiency, including the 11th-best defensive steal percentage, per KenPom. San Diego State ranks 57th in the nation with 17.2 turnovers forced per game.
Their offense is led by seniors Matt Mitchell (16.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG) and Jordan Schakel (13.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG). Both guards average over a steal per game while shooting at least 35% from 3-point land. In SDSU’s 80-68 win over No. 23 Arizona State, Schakel scored 25 points and went 5-for-9 from beyond the arc.
The Aztecs’ interior presence has been greatly bolstered by the return of 6-foot-10 junior Nathan Mensah (8.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG), who missed the final 19 games of last season with a respiratory issue. He had 17 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks in the win over the Sun Devils.
Similar to Saint Mary’s, the Aztecs play deliberate basketball with one of the slowest paces in college basketball. San Diego State ranks 326th in adjusted tempo, with the Gaels ranking 354th.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I favor the more athletic team in this neutral-court battle between two of the top basketball schools in California. This will be a slow-paced game, with the Aztecs having more offensive options outside of the Gaels’ jump shooting.
Coming off an embarrassing home loss to BYU, I expect Brian Dutcher to have the Aztecs ready from the start. Look for Mitchell and Schakel to balance the interior play of Mensah, and end the Gaels’ eight-game winning streak.
Pick: San Diego State -2.5.