San Diego Toreros vs. St. Mary’s Gaels Preview and Pick

San Diego Toreros (16-12) +12, 128 O/U at St. Marys Gaels (23-4)
-12, 128 O/U, McKeon Pavilion, Moraga, California, 10 PM Eastern, Monday
by Badger of

The 23rd-ranked St. Marys Gaels will have revenge and redemption on
their minds Monday night when they host the San Diego Toreros in the
McKeon Pavilion in a West Coast Conference basketball showdown.

The Gaels will have revenge on their minds because San Diego is the
only WCC team to beat them this season, a 63-55 upset in San Diego
back on January 28th. They will also have redemption on their minds
because the Gaels tarnished their perfect home record in the McKeon
with a 65-57 loss to Kent State on Saturday. St. Marys went six
minutes down the stretch without a basket, thus ending their six-game
win streak and their perfect 14-0 record at home.

San Diego is also turning a lot of heads in the WCC this season. The
Toreros had their own seven-game winning streak snapped last week,
losing a close 59-55 contest on the road at Gonzaga last Monday. The
Toreros rebounded Saturday to beat Santa Clara, 66-62, and will need
to keep playing strong basketball to beat the Gaels on their home floor.

Most Online Sportsbooks opened the game with St. Marys as a strong
12-point favorite, with a 128-point over/under total. Most books are
also favoring the Gaels on the moneyline bet, with St. Marys at -820
and San Diego listed at +640.

Point guard Patrick Mills is the Gaels best all-around player
(averages 14.9 pts., 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals), but he has become one
part of an effective one-two offensive punch with Diamon Simpson.
Simpson had an outstanding game in the loss to Kent State, dropping
24 points and 15 rebounds in the defeat. Mills meanwhile was taken
away in the Kent State game (just 5 points), although his 2-for-11
shooting performance certainly didnt help.

St. Marys boasts an offense that scores 77.3 points per game on 46.8
percent shooting from the floor. However, they struggled with
turnovers in their last loss to San Diego (16 of them) and also have
a tendency to struggle when their transition game is taken away, as
was the case Saturday when Kent State when nobody but Simpson could
find the hoop.

San Diego is powered on offense by guard Brandon Johnson. Johnson
(16.4 ppg, 3.5 apg) is the leader of a Toreros attack that scores
only 64.2 points per game on what most would consider average
shooting percentages (44.5 % from floor, 33.7% from 3-point).

Toreros forward Rob Jones (ave. 14.8 ppg in the last 8 games) has
turned up his offensive production of late, but he tends to disappear
in big games (0 points vs. St. Marys in first game, just 2 points
vs. Gonzaga last Monday). San Diego will need a big game out of Jones
and fellow forward Gyno Pomare (10 pts., 8 reb. in last game) if the
Toreros are going to contend with the Gaels big men inside.

Defensively these two are very similar. Both play an in-your-face
approach that limits easy scoring opportunities (St. Marys allows
62.7 ppg, San Diego 63.2 ppg) and second chance points off the boards
in the paint. St. Marys tall, front-court heavy lineup challenges
shots better overall (allowing just 40 FG%, 30 3-PT%; San Diego
allows 43.9 FG%, 36.2 3-PT%), but the Gaels could be missing their
big inside intimidator in center Omar Samhan who left the Kent State
with a bad shoulder and never returned.

San Diego has won two straight games in the series, including last
years game in the McKeon Pavilion by a score of 76-72. Both games
also saw the Toreros cover the spread too, including the game back in
January as 7-point home underdogs. Ironically, homecourt advantage
has meant little in the recent head-to-head meetings, as the road
team is a strong 13-3 ATS in the last 16 games played.

For the season St. Marys is a moneymaking 14-9-1 ATS, including
covering in five of their last seven overall.

But San Diego is an equally impressive 16-8 ATS on the season, and is
currently riding a four-game covering streak and six out of their
last seven overall.

The other betting trend to note the games in this matchup has been
mostly an offensive showcase. Seven of their last eight head-to-head
matchups have come in over the total, with the lone exception being
their previous game in January this season.

Badgers Pick: I fully expect St. Marys to come out of the gates
with something to prove after laying a dud in their bracket busters
game versus Kent State. But that said, I think the Gaels were exposed
a little as well in the same game as being just a two-player team on
offense (Mills and Simpson). San Diego knows this too. Look for the
Toreros to stop the two-headed monster for most of the game and keep
this one close. Take San Diego and the points.