No. 20 Saint Mary’s Gaels at BYU Cougars
Saturday, 1/28/12, 9:00 PM EST, TV: ESPNU
Opening Point Spread: BYU -3
Current Betting Line: BYU -3
Opening Total: 148.5
Current Total: 152
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Saint Mary’s has won its last 10 games since dropping a 72-59 contest to the Baylor Bears on a neutral floor on Dec. 22. The Gaels will be searching for a regular-season sweep over the BYU Cougars, capturing a 98-82 win in the first meeting as four-point home favorites. Offensively, the team ranks second in the West Coast Conference in scoring 76.5 points per game, while the defense allows just 60.1 points a contest. Saint Mary’s is 16-11 ATS on the road the last two-plus seasons, while the ‘over’ is 14-13 in that situation.
The Gaels are led offensively by the play of junior guard Matthew Dellavedova, who is averaging 15.7 points per game, while leading the WCC in assists. Senior Rob Jones leads the conference in grabbing 10.9 rebounds per game, ranking second nationally with 14 double-doubles. Saint Mary’s 20-2 record equals the best start in school history. The team has a great chance of pulling off an upset Saturday if he reaches the 70-point plateau, posting an 83-8 record over the last four seasons when hitting that mark.
BYU registered a two-game road sweep over Pepperdine and Virginia Tech and will try to avoid suffering back-to-back home losses for the first time since the 2005 campaign. The Cougars are led by the play of senior forward Noah Hartsock, who is scoring 17.7 points per game and shooting 58.3 percent from the field. Fellow forward Brandon Davies has also stepped up his play since the start of conference play, ranking first in WCC action in scoring and second in rebounding. BYU is 6-3 ATS at home this season.
The Cougars have gotten much better at the free throw line since shooting 69.2 percent in the first 18 games, hitting 76.4 percent over the past five. BYU leads all WCC teams in scoring 79.6 points per game during conference play, with Davies and Hartsock coming off 17 and 22-point performances respectively. Head coach Dave Rose is second in program history with 177 wins and first in winning 78 percent of his games.
Bettors will likely back the Cougars due to their 10-4 ATS mark as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, while the Gaels are 1-4 ATS as an underdog within the same point range.
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