- Saint Mary’s Gaels aim to nail down the No. 3 seed in the WCC when they close out their regular season schedule on Saturday against the BYU Cougars
- The Gaels are riding a two-game win streak, while the Cougars aim to improve their March Madness resume with a fourth straight win
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Saturday night’s matchup at Marriott Center
The Saint Mary’s Gaels will be aiming to strengthen their grasp on the No. 3 seed in the West Coast Conference, when they close out their regular season schedule against the BYU Cougars on Saturday as 9-point road underdogs.
The Gaels sport a middling 4-5 SU conference record. But with the WCC using an adjusted conference winning percentage developed by Ken Pomery to determine seeding, St. Mary’s can all but assure itself of the No. 3 seed in next week’s WCC Tournament with a victory on Saturday.
Sporting a 9-3 SU record in conference play, the Cougars are locked in as the No. 2 seed. However, with the prospect of higher seeding in the NCAA Tournament, and a chance to sweep the season series with the Gaels for the first time since 2014, BYU has plenty to play for in Saturday’s season finale.
Here’s a look at all the odds and trends ahead of this West Coast Conference matchup, set for 9 pm Eastern on Saturday night at Marriott Center.
St. Mary’s Gaels vs BYU Cougars Odds
|St. Mary’s Gaels||+9 (-110)||+300||O 128.5 (-110)|
|BYU Cougars||-9 (-110)||-500||U 128.5 (-110)|
Odds taken on Feb. 26th.
Gaels Look to Snap Road Slide
The Gaels hit the road for their season finale after sweeping their final homestand of the season, capped by a decisive 58-46 victory over the Pacific Tigers on Thursday. However, the team has produced mixed results in limited road appearances in conference play, falling to defeat in their past two, against Pepperdine and Gonzaga. Saint Mary’s has also been streaky at best at the sportsbooks, covering just once in their past four outings after paying out in their previous three.
— WCC Basketball (@WCChoops) February 26, 2021
Now set to hit the road as an underdog by more than 8 points against an opponent other than Gonzaga for the first time since 2008, Saint Mary’s will be aiming to avenge themselves for a crushing 62-52 home loss to the Cougars earlier this season as 1-point chalk. Scoring points has been a struggle for the Gaels throughout the campaign, with the team ranking a distant 297th in the nation with just 65.9 points per game.
— Saint Mary's Hoops (@saintmaryshoops) February 26, 2021
One of the few offensive bright spots for the Gaels has been the recent play of Logan Johnson. The junior guard has led the team in points in each of their two recent wins, and was also tops on the club in rebounds and assists in this week’s 66-61 win over Pepperdine. The Gaels’ defense has also been steady, holding opponents to fewer than 60 points in four of nine conference matchups, and is pegged at No. 20 in adjusted defensive efficiency at Kenpom.
Cougars Aim to Rewrite Losing Narrative
While St. Mary’s remains in a desperate battle for seeding, the Cougars must be careful not to look past the Gaels in Saturday’s contest. BYU has blazed its trail to second place in the conference standings with consistent play. The Cougars have carried over their strong performance from last season into the current campaign, avoiding consecutive defeats while compiling an 18-5 overall SU record. The squad has won seven of eight on home court vs conference opponents, with their lone defeat coming against Gonzaga.
FINAL: BYU comes back to win at Saint Mary’s 62-52. Cougars closed the game on a 19-2 run over the final 10:17. BYU’s Barcello led all scorers with 14. Cougars improve to 10-3 (1-1), Gaels fall to 9-4 (0-2). #WCChoops
— Will Maupin (@willmaup) January 15, 2021
However, that consistency has not extended to the sportsbooks. The Cougars are winless ATS in their past four home contests, and are just 1-4-1 ATS in their past eight home games in which they are favored by 8 or more points. And while their victory over Saint Mary’s earlier this season provided a huge lift, the Cougars still have plenty of work to overcome a lengthy shaky track record against the Gaels. Overall, BYU has posted wins in just six of 16 meetings with the Gaels, and have covered just once while dropping three of five on home hardwood.
“If BYU wins out they’ll be the two seed (at the WCC Tournament) and have a fair amount of wiggle room. They might be able to lose both games and still be the two seed.”@kenpomeroy
— Jarom Jordan (@jaromjordan) February 25, 2021
Despite those struggles, there is plenty to like about BYU. The Cougars rank 34th in the nation with 79.2 points per game, and have topped 80 points in five of their past nine. The team has also converted over 55% from the field in each of its past two outings. But considering how much more is on the line for the Gaels, as well as BYU’s shaky history against them, look for Saint Mary’s to keep things close in Saturday’s contest.
Picks: Gaels +9 (-110); OVER 128.5 (-110)
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