College Basketball Picks: BYU at San Diego State Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 2/25/2011
Saturday’s game between No. 7 Brigham Young and No. 4 San Diego State is the biggest basketball game ever in the Mountain West Conference. These two are tied atop the MWC with 12-1 records. Thus the winner here likely will be crowned regular-season champion and get the top seed in the conference tourney. But perhaps more important, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament is very possible if SDSU wins out. It’s rather unlikely in the same scenario for BYU but not impossible; at worst the Cougars would be looking at a likely No. 2 seed.
How the Teams Enter
San Diego State (27-1) had a week to prepare on how to guard BYU star Jimmer Fredette as the Aztecs last played on Feb. 19, beating Air Force 70-58. SDSU star and Mountain West Conference Player of the Year candidate Kawhi Leonard posted his 19th double-double with 18 points and 15 boards. It was the Aztecs’ school-record 27th win and seventh in a row. They immediately started focusing on BYU once the buzzer sounded. "That game we really want," said Malcolm Thomas in published reports. "We want to show that we're one of the best in the nation."
BYU (26-2) has won six in a row, beating Colorado State 84-76 on Wednesday night behind 34 points from Fredette. It was the nation’s leading scorer’s ninth 30-point game this season.
BYU at San Diego State Betting Storylines
The Cougars handed the Aztecs their only loss of the season back on Jan. 29, 71-58 (in a predictable trap game, BYU then lost its next game to New Mexico). Fredette dominated that night with 43 points on 14-of-24 shooting, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. It was his second straight 40-point game and he hasn’t had one since. Fredette is averaging more than 31 points per game in Mountain West play. Despite just putting up 34 on Wednesday, he’s struggling a bit. Against CSU, Fredette had a career-high eight turnovers and only shot 9 for 25 from the field, his third straight game shooting worse than 40 percent from the field. Still, Fredette could join Bradley's Hersey Hawkins (1988) and Purdue's Glenn Robinson (1994) as the only players since 1970 to win the scoring title and the national player of the year award
Leonard led SDSU with 22 points and 15 rebounds that night, but the Aztecs shot just 35.5 percent from the field. Leonard truly could beat out Fredette for MWC Player of the Year honors is the Aztecs win this game. He and Thomas form the nation’s best rebounding tandem. This game will be easily the hottest ticket in San Diego State history. The Aztecs have won 18 in a row at home, which is the sixth-longest active streak in Division I. But SDSU has lost three straight to BYU overall.
This game is also notable in that it’s on national network television on CBS. It’s the first time Fredette will have played a regular-season game on a free network. BYU officials say it is the first time in 22 years that the Cougars have appeared on true national TV in a regular-season basketball game. It’s also the first game in any sport involving two Mountain West Conference teams to be televised nationally by an over-the-air network.
BYU at San Diego State Betting Odds and Trends
The Aztecs have opened as 3-point favorites on college basketball odds. BYU is 10-1 on the road and 6-4 ATS. SDSU is 14-0 at home and 7-5 ATS.
BYU is 5-2 ATS in its past seven road games vs. teams with a winning home record.
SDSU is 14-3 ATS in its past 17 vs. teams with a winning road record.
BYU is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings but has covered just twice in the past seven visits to SDSU.
BYU at San Diego State Prediction
The crowd at SDSU (the student section is known as “The Show”) will be incredibly jacked up. And so will the Aztecs, who are plenty rested. Fredette had been dealing with a calf injury but obviously will play. This game all comes down to tempo. BYU wants it half court and SDSU wants to run. The Aztecs should kill BYU on the glass; in the first meeting SDSU had 14 offensive rebounds, which is a ton. San Diego State wins going away, so give the points.
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