San Diego (-2) (-110) over San Francisco
San Diego’s strength is its defense that is limiting opponents to a mere 61.3 points per game at home on 38.9% shooting from the field. Overall, the Toreros are allowing 63.8 points per game to teams that would combine to average 71.8 points per game against a mediocre defensive squad, thereby making San Diego 8.0 points per game better than average defensively. As a team, San Diego ranks #1 in the conference in scoring defense and ranks #2 in three-point field goal defense (.319) and field goal defense (.415). San Diego is averaging 37.2 rebounds at home while limiting opponents to just 30.7 rebounds at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Meanwhile, San Francisco arrives in town with an offense that is averaging just 70.9 points per game on the road, which is 6.3 points per game below its season average. What I find even more surprising is the fact that the Dons have only played seven road games this season, and their results have been pedestrian at best (3-4 SU; 3-4 ATS). Indeed, tonight’s road game will be San Francisco’s first since January 11 (an 88-73 loss at St. Mary’s), and the Dons will certainly be suffering from a hangover after having their three-game win streak snapped by Gonzaga last Saturday. And, that loss took on more significance after the athletic director deemed it one of the biggest games in the school’s history. Overall, San Diego possesses a 2.4 points per game advantage defensively over the Dons’ attack.
While San Diego is 5.6 points per game worse than average offensively this season (67.5 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 73.1 points per game), the Toreros are significantly better at home where they are averaging 69.9 points per game on 47.2% shooting from the field and 41.1% from beyond the arc. San Diego’s attack is led by junior guard Johnny Dee, who is ranked third in the conference in scoring at 17.1 points per game. Dee is also ranked fourth in the nation in free throw percentage (.929). Dee is joined in the back court by junior point guard Christopher Anderson, who ranks #1 in the WCC in assists (5.8) and is averaging 10.1 points per game. San Diego should have success exploiting a poor San Francisco defense that is allowing 80.7 points per game on the road on 47.8% shooting from the floor and 42.8% from three-point territory. Overall, San Francisco is 1.5 points per game worse than average defensively (74.5 points per game to teams that combine to average 73.0 points per game.
One of the most important aspects of tonight’s game will be San Diego’s efficiency from beyond the arc where the Torreros are shooting 46.3% over the last five games and 44.4% versus conference opponents. I expect those numbers to hold true against a San Francisco defense that is allowing opponents to make 42.8% of their three-point attempts on the road and 38.1% overall this season. San Diego will also be focused on avenging its buzzer-beating 64-62 loss at San Francisco last month, whereas the Dons finds themselves in a classic letdown situation after their “game of the year” effort against Gonzaga Saturday. From a technical situation, San Diego is a perfect 6-0 ATS versus teams with a win percentage between .600 and .800 and 24-11 ATS revenging a loss.