(8) San Diego State v. (9) St. John’s
Time: 9:40 PM ET
Spread: SDS -4
M/L: SJU -180, SJU +160
Betting odds c/o Bovada
San Diego State finished the season 26-8 and is a very tough team for an 8 seed. The Aztecs are 4-point favorites in a matchup that can typically be a PICK between equal teams, which speaks to the miscalculation on the part of the selection committee to a small degree. Be that as it it may, SDS will face St. John’s in a game which will be aired on CBS.
The Aztecs play a slow paced grind it out game, which leads to some deceptively poor stats. SDS shoots just 41.9 percent from the floor in scoring 61 points per game, and it doesn’t really board much better than average. Even so, it had reeled off four straight before losing by two points to Wyoming to close its season.
A simple look at the Aztecs’ stats reveals some ugly numbers. Its top two scorers both shoot 42 percent or less from the floor and average 11 points a piece. Winston Shepard, a 6’8” junior forward, struggled badly in the loss to Wyoming, hitting just 2 of 10 from the field. He’s a very on and off shooter, which gives this game a very strange element for the bettor. Two of his past five games have seen him shoot over 55 percent from the floor, while the other three he was 23 percent or worse. Not a big minutes player, he still offers more offensive versatility than the rest of his team, and can step out and hit the three at a reasonable 32 percent. His foul shooting is troubling at 66.2 percent and he’s not much of a playmaker on the defensive end, but the Aztecs just don’t allow opponents to penetrate its defense that much.
What its opponent St. John’s has going for it is that it kept it together in a much tougher Big East Conference, going 10-8 in conference play and 11-3 in non-conference games. St John’s was utterly destroyed by ranked opponents this year, going 0-4 including a a 105-68 defeat at the hands of Villanova. Unlike the Aztecs, the Red Storm can score (71.2 points per game), but it really lost to every quality opponent it played this season, and while SDS isn’t an extremely formidable squad, it is good enough to give the Red Storm its problems. St John’s has posted a 27-30 tournament record and made it to the Final 4 twice, but this certainly won’t be the year that happens again.
If the Red Storm is to win this game, its going to need a very big game from leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison. Harrison averaged 17.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season and he’s been a consistent big minutes player all four seasons at St. John’s. His freshman season in 2011-12, he put up 16.8 points per game, but he’s never been efficient and this is the first season he’s been over 40 percent from the field. In the 74-57 loss to Providence on Mar 12, he hit just 3 of 15 from the floor and committed three turnovers.
While Nova destroyed the Red Storm, he had a nice game that night hitting 6 of 14 from the field and 5 of 9 from two-point range. It’s just that he’s so prone to disappearing and he hasn’t had a monster game since Feb 11 against DePaul. His inconsistency and poor shooting percentages can take St John’s out of this game. Bettors are wise to consider a spread bet on San Diego State in this game.