BYU vs Saint Mary’s Basketball Prediction & PIcks (2023 WCC MBB Semifinals)
After sweeping BYU in the regular season, Saint Mary’s will go for the trifecta tonight (9:00 pm ET, ESPN) to book a spot in tomorrow night’s WCC Tournament championship game.
The winner of tonight’s matchup between the fifth-seeded Cougars (19-14, 7-9 WCC) and the top-seeded Gaels (25-6, 14-2 WCC) will face either #6 seed San Francisco or #2 seed Gonzaga, who will face off in the second semifinal at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Will the Gaels take the win to advance to the championship game for the sixth time in eight seasons? Read on for our BYU vs Saint Mary’s prediction and picks.
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BYU vs Saint Mary’s Odds
Odds for BYU vs Saint Mary’s are via FanDuel as of Monday, March 6, 2023, at 8:00 am ET.
- BYU +6.5 (-105)
- Saint Mary’s (-115)
- Over 130.5 (-110)
- Under 130.5 (-110)
- BYU +235
- Saint Mary’s -295
Can the Cougars Keep It Close Against the Gaels Again?
BYU came up empty in six regular season matchups against the WCC’s top three teams (Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga, and Santa Clara), but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. In each of their six losses against the Gaels, Bulldogs, and Broncos, the Cougars lost by no more than seven points.
In their meetings with Saint Mary’s, BYU lost by one at home on January 28 and by six on the road on February 18.
When the teams met in Provo, the Cougars rallied from eight down with under six minutes left to take a one-point lead in the final seconds, only to fall 57-56 on a basket by Aidan Mahaney.
They staged another rally in Moraga last month, coming back from 13 down with under eight minutes left to pull within one inside the final two minutes. But Mahaney hit a big three in the final minute to make it a two-possession game, and the Gaels claimed a 71-65 win.
So, it’s clear that BYU can hang with Saint Mary’s. But can they get over the hump and make a fifth trip to the WCC Tournament title tilt before they depart for the Big 12?
A key will be managing more than partial defensive success against Mahaney. In the first matchup, the Gaels’ fantastic freshman scored all 10 of his points in the second half, and 14 of his 16 points in the second matchup came in the final 20 minutes.
They also need to slow down Logan Johnson, who scored 27 in the matchup in Moraga and has scored 27+ points five times in his last six games.
This hot run down the stretch has taken Johnson to 13 games with 15 or more points this season. In those 13 games, Saint Mary’s is 10-3 SU and 9-3-1 ATS.
BYU vs Saint Mary’s Prediction and Picks
Cougars vs Gaels Prediction: BYU to win
Cougars vs Gaels Picks: BYU +6.5 (Best Value: FanDuel) & BYU team total over 61.5 (Best Value: Caesars Sportsbook)
Since the loss in Moraga, BYU has won three game straight games, all by double digits. That includes Saturday’s quarterfinal win over #4 seed Loyola Marymount, a 73-63 win.
I don’t think that they will take that streak to four–Saint Mary’s hasn’t lost by more than nine points this season–but I have a lot of confidence in the Cougars to be competitive and give themselves another chance at upsetting the Gaels.
If BYU can score at least 65 points like they did last time out against Saint Mary’s, they will have a chance.
BYU has been held below 65 points only five times this season, and they have scored at least 65 points in nine straight games since they lost to Saint Mary’s at home.
When opponents have hit that number this season, Saint Mary’s is 5-4 SU and 2-6-1 ATS. It’s also worth noting that the over is a perfect 9-0 in those nine games.
As closely as the Cougars have played the Gaels this season, I don’t think I am being too bold by backing them to cover and sprinkling a little extra on the straight-up win as well.
Where to Bet on BYU vs Saint Mary’s
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