St. Mary’s Gaels (22-2) at San Diego Toreros (15-8)
We picked up our third straight college basketball win last night when we back the Buffaloes of Colorado at home against the Utah Runnin’ Utes. That line opened up with Utah as a -1.5-point road favorite and everyone jumped all over the home team. Sharps and squares alike backed Colorado, and that line ended up closing out at Colorado -2-points.
We booked our action at even, and it felt like stealing. The game wasn’t remotely close from the tip, and the Buffaloes coasted to 67-55 victory.
Home underdogs in conference play continue to be a consistent money maker for us this year. Give me the home team and a handful of points against a very familiar foe, and I am taking them all day long.
I will look at a game tonight that features yet another home team getting a bunch of points as the San Diego Toreros host the St. Mary’s Gaels in a West Coast Conference affair.
The St. Mary’s Gaels will take their long winning streak on the road tonight when they travel to San Diego to take on the Toreros in a West Coast Conference matchup. The Gaels have won seventeen straight games and are knocking on the door of the top ten in the nation, currently sitting at #13.
San Diego is trying to play its way onto the bubble and has been a pleasant surprise this year in the WCC. The Toreros 15 wins have them getting an eye for a post-season berth. They badly need a big resume-building win like this one tonight to be legitimately considered for an at-large bid.
The Gaels are -9-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 136 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
St. Mary’s College solidified their tournament resume when they went in to Spokane and beat a very good Gonzaga team last week. The Gaels have once again scheduled very softly, and this season was looking reminiscent of a few years ago when the Gaels were 25 game winners and left out of the Big Dance. The selection committee frowns on soft scheduling, and if you don’t have any big wins, they will send you home.
The Gaels don’t have a ton of great wins this season either, their best win in the non-conference was against Dayton. And they had a couple of bad losses to Washington State and Georgia. But they have more than taken care of business in the WCC, beating BYU twice, and San Diego and Gonzaga once each. As of right this second, they are the prohibitive favorite to win the WCC regular-season title.
The Gaels feature the best player in the country nobody is talking about in Jock Landale. Landale is a sharpshooting big man that can play faced up or with his back to the basket. The national player of the year candidate is averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds a game for a Gaels team that leads the nation in shooting percentage.
Landale is joined by fellow all WCC player Calvin Hermanson who is shooting a borderline absurd 48% from three-point land. Everyone on this St. Mary’s team can shoot, and they average close to 80 points a game even though they run a very slow paced, half-court offense. They will need a full effort tonight if they want to win and cover against a very game San Diego team on the road.
San Diego has spent much of this season beating the teams they were supposed to beat and losing to the ones that are better than they are. If they got to play all their games at home, they would be a legit NCAA tournament team. But alas, this is college basketball, and you have to play half your conference games on the road.
The Toreros came very close to a breakthrough in their last game out as they gave conference kingpin Gonzaga all they could handle in Spokane. The game was a close one all night long before the Zags pulled away late for a ten-point victory.
They also managed to play this St. Mary’s team admirably on the road when the two teams matched up in Moraga on January 6th. The Toreros actually led at the half, before fading late and losing 70-63 in what was the biggest test so far for the Gaels in WCC play. It will be the Toreros turn tonight on their home court to repay the favor.
Four of the Toreros five conference losses have come on the road, and they have a solid opportunity to pick up some big wins at home as the schedule closes out. Home games against St. Mary’s, Gonzaga, and BYU will give the Toreros the stage they need to showcase themselves, they just must take care of business on their home court.
This line opened at St. Mary’s -11.5-points and I laughed at the jumbo over-sized line. This San Diego team can play, and that number was straight disrespect. The sharps agreed, and this game has been quickly bet down to St. Mary’s -9-points. Which still feels high, but is close to being right.
I expect this number might continuing moving as home underdogs are always a popular bet. As the number stands right now, I am taking the home team, and I fully expect the Gaels to be on upset alert tonight.
The game should be a close, competitive one, and for that reason, I am forced to snatch up all those points and back the home team tonight. Give me the San Diego Toreros tonight getting +9-points at home.