Projecting 'Under' Between BYU on Saint Mary's

Rainman M.

Thursday, January 25, 2018 12:54 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 12:54 PM UTC

No. 16 Saint Mary's (19-2) hosts BYU (17-4) tonight at 11 ET. The Gaels are favored by 8. The point total is set at 138.5.

BYU Cougars vs Saint Mary's Gaels

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Free NCAAB Pick: 'Under' 138.5Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

BYU's new-look starting lineup ranks 287th in experience and features four sophomores. The young Cougars are looking for their first win of the season against a ranked opponent--their only other opportunity was a defeat against then-ranked Alabama. They're also looking to avenge an overtime loss at home against Saint Mary's.

One of BYU's most improved sophomores is shooting guard TJ Haws. Listen to BYU's head coach talk about his player, who is coming off a 24-point performance against San Diego's highly-ranked defense.

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Coach Rose says that @tjhaws30 has significantly improved this year. Find out how: #RoseShow

— BYUtv Sports (@byutvsports) January 24, 2018

This season, Haws ranks 291st in assist rate and 447th in turnover rate because of his improved ball-handling and ability to read defenses.

Whereas Haws has improved as a ball distributor, small forward Elijah Bryant is a better scorer. His three-point completion percentage has improved from 27.8% last season to 43.9% this season. He is completing 90.2% of his free throws and ranks in the top-400 in both two-point completion and defensive rebounding percentage. He leads all Cougars with 18 points per game.

Center Yoeli Childs is second on the team with 17.6 points per game. Childs is BYU's go-to-guy on offense because of his forcefulness inside. He takes the highest percentage of BYU's shots and completes 55.5% inside the arc. Like Bryant, he ranks in the top-200 in defensive rebounding percentage and leads the team with 9 rebounds per game. Childs had his best game of the season against Saint Mary's, scoring 29 points with 10-21 from inside the arc, and would love a repeat performance tonight.

The Gaels contain many more known variables, ranking 20th in experience with three seniors in the lineup. They are ranked because of their awesome record and because, unlike BYU, they have beaten a ranked opponent, having upset Gonzaga 74-71.

Seniors Emmett Naar at point guard and center Jock Landale eat up the minutes for SMU. Naar is an underrated distributor that doesn't get enough national attention. He leads the team with 9.1 assists per game and ranks twelfth in assist rate. Landale is a monster inside, ranking in the top-50 in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage and two-point completion percentage. He leads SMU both with 22.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

SMU doesn't like to shoot a lot from three. But when they do, they're dangerous. Small forwards Calvin Hermanson and Tanner Krebs and shooting guard Jordan Ford rank in the top-200 in three-point completion percentage.

The Verdict

In the teams' first meeting, the total was set at 141 and the game still went 'under,' despite reaching overtime. Oddsmakers are trying to adjust the total and have therefore come out with a slightly lower number on our NCAAB odds board because they realize that another low-scoring affair is likely.

Saint Mary's plays at a snails' pace, ranking 341st in adjusted tempo. They succeed at playing this slowly especially at home, where they are more able to control the pace. Their O-U record at home is 1-5-1.

BYU has gone 'under' in each of its five road games thus far. The Cougars also like a slow pace, ranking 254th in adjusted tempo. Neither team likes to play in transition. Neither team forces many turnovers, but instead likes to rely on its respective half-court offense, passing the ball around in order to find the best shot and preventing the opponent from finding its best shot.

Make this grinding affair more exciting by cashing in an 'under' with me on our NCAAB picks.

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