Perhaps the most important college basketball betting matchup on Saturday as far as the NCAA Tournament bubble is concerned will take place in the WCC Tournament. Both the BYU Cougars and San Francisco Dons are itching for success in Las Vegas to solidify their March Madness resumes. Most experts currently have USF in the field as of now, but nothing is guaranteed. Meanwhile, BYU almost certainly must win this game and possibly one more in the West Coast Conference Semifinals to have a shot at an at-large bid. The following article takes a look at the top college basketball betting picks and betting trends, then shares a BYU vs San Francisco prediction for tonight’s WCC Tournament matchup.
BYU vs San Francisco College Basketball Betting Preview | WCC Tournament
WCC Tournament — Third Round Game
BYU Cougars (22-9, 9-6 WCC) vs. San Francisco Dons (23-8, 10-6 WCC)
Date: Saturday, March 5, 2022
Time: 10:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Orleans Arena — Las Vegas, NV
BYU Cougars Preview
Injuries have been a thorn in the side of BYU basketball all season long. As a result, they sputtered down the stretch of the regular season. While the Cougars were at one time ranked in the AP Top 25, an awful loss to Pacific and the lack of a true signature win has them teetering on the NCAA Tournament bubble. It was clear from the onset that Mark Pope’s team would need to treat the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas as a business trip. After slipping to the 5-seed, BYU also was thrust into action on the second day of the tournament.
Last night saw BYU manhandle 8-seed Loyola Marymount in a 25-point win. They did so without one of their better defensive players in Seneca Knight who remained sidelined with a thumb injury. Luckily, leading-scorer Alex Barcello picked up the slack. The senior guard has been terrific all season long, averaging 17.2 points per game. Against LMU, he scored 22 to go along with three rebounds and three assists.
Having a star guard like Barcello is massive for BYU, especially in the postseason. No matter what goes wrong, his ability to get hot at any time will almost always keep the Cougars alive in a game. Fousseyni Traore also had a massive game on Friday with 15 points and 11 boards. He will need to come up big for BYU once again in tonight’s college basketball betting matchup against the strong post presence of USF. Caleb Lohner also provided a huge boost on the boards in last night’s matchup as he hauled in 10.
San Francisco Dons Preview
For the first time since 1998, San Francisco basketball is on the verge of making the NCAA Tournament. The Dons twice won the national championship (if you can believe it) back in 1955 and ’56. For the younger readers, the legendary Bill Russell played his college ball at USF. However, the program has certainly been dormant for some time. At 36 years of age, head coach Todd Golden has a roster that is capable of not only competing in the Big Dance but of putting together a run as well.
After finishing as the 4-seed in the West Coast Conference standings, tonight marks the start of postseason play for the Dons. San Francisco had three players average in double figures scoring this season led by Jamaree Bouyea with 17 points per game. The interior matchup between Yauhen Massalski and BYU’s Fousseyni Traore will be something to key in on tonight. Massalski nearly averaged a double-double this season with 13.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He also averages over two blocked shots per contest.
While San Francisco is known for pushing the pace and shooting a barrage of three-pointers, one should also note their strong defensive play when making college basketball betting picks. According to KenPom, the Dons ranked 20th in adjusted defensive efficiency this season allowing 93.5 points per 100 possessions. The fact that they also averaged a top-100 adjusted tempo makes that defensive standing even more impressive.
BYU vs San Francisco College Basketball Betting Odds and Picks
Moneyline: BYU: (+140) | USF: (-160)
Point Spread: BYU: +3 (-110) | USF: -3 (-110)
Total: 144 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)
BYU vs San Francisco College Basketball Betting Trends
- Cougars are just 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in four of the Cougars’ last five games when playing as an underdog.
- Dons are 6-1 straight up in their last seven games when playing as a favorite.
- Five of the Dons’ last six games have gone OVER the total.
- Cougars are 4-1 straight up in their last five head-to-head matchups against the Dons.
BYU vs San Francisco Prediction | College Basketball Betting Picks
When it comes to taking a side in tonight’s WCC Tournament Third Round matchup, the handicap hinges on the availability of Seneca Knight. BYU basketball may have been able to get past Loyola Marymount with ease, but they will need their full complement of starters if they hope to get past San Francisco. While Knight’s statistical contributions might not seem like much to the average college basketball betting Joe, his presence on the floor is critical to the Cougars’ success, especially on defense. If Knight plays, one has to find BYU enticing as a plus-money dog in what feels like a virtual toss-up.
Speaking of defense, our BYU vs San Francisco prediction will call for exactly that. The college basketball betting total of 144 points is simply too high based on the two regular-season contests between these teams. The Cougars pulled out a two-point win in California, 71-69. San Francisco basketball would later return the favor and then some, running BYU out of their home gym in a 73-59 final. In both cases, less than 144 total points were scored. The Dons bring a top-25 defense to the table while BYU ranks outside the top-120 in adjusted tempo according to KenPom. Given the implications of tonight’s game for both teams, expect a high level of defensive intensity at both ends of the floor.