BYU at San Diego +3 O/U 133
Recommendation: San Diego
Nothing has come easy for BYU in recent weeks, and a road trip to the Slim Gym isn’t likely to help matters on Saturday. BYU needed overtime to dispense with lowly Pepperdine on Thursday, on the heels of needing OT to knock off almost as lowly San Francisco last weekend in Provo. Now the Cougars must deal with a short turnaround off a pair of OT affairs, while facing a Toreros defense that is physical and extremely tough on the perimeter.
BYU head coach Dave Rose knows what he’s up against today: “They’re one of the most physical teams in the league from what we saw at our place. We’ve gone through and evaluated every team and how we’ve played them. We feel that their size, their athleticism — their guards are really physical — it will be a really tough game, a tough-fought game Saturday. I know our guys will compete. We’ll see how they do.”
It’s surely worth noting that the Jenny Craig Pavilion has not been particularly friendly for the Cougars in recent meetings. BYU has been favored in all six games they’ve played at San Diego since joining the West Coast conference. The Cougs are just 3-3 SU in those six meetings, including a 13 point win over the Cougs last year as 10.5 point underdogs.
The numbers do not lie. San Diego ranks #3 in the country at defending the three point line, allowing opponents to connect on just 29% of their shots from beyond the arc. This is a clear matchup disadvantage for the road favorite, a team that relies heavily on their perimeter shooting. When Elijah Bryant and TJ Haws aren’t raining three’s, the Cougars are struggling to win, let alone win by any sort of margin.
BYU is a sub .500 team on the highway in WCC play this year, including an ugly loss earlier in the month as double digit favorites at Loyola Marymount. They trailed at home to San Diego in the second half of the first meeting before a 31-15 closeout over the final 11 minutes to get the win and cover. The Cougs certainly haven’t been closing out many games on the highway in similar fashion. Take San Diego.