Once Upon A Time In Las Vegas - Championship Sunday
A pair of West Coast Conference programs from the Golden State lock up on the floor down in southern California. The San Francisco Dons are on the road as they make the trip to face the San Diego Toreros Saturday night. San Francisco took down BYU 82-74 at home in their previous contest last Saturday, covering the line as a one-point favorite. San Diego was on the road Thursday night as they took on Pepperdine, earning an 87-78 victory to win outright as a four-point underdog. In the all-time series between the programs, the Dons own a 47-42 advantage but it was the Toreros going on the road and picking up an 80-68 win in the first meeting this season on December 31, 2022.
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San Francisco Dons Shooting for Third Straight Win
San Francisco won their second straight game as they took down BYU at home last Saturday so they are rested for this contest. The Dons enter this game 14-9 overall and stand eighth in the conference with a 3-5 record on the season. Against BYU, San Francisco jumped in front 18-7 just over eight minutes into the game and led the rest of the way. The Dons were up nine at the half and led by as many as 16 in the second half while never letting the lead drop below six, with that coming in the final minute. San Francisco shot 46% from the field, including 12 of 29 from three-point range, and cashed in 24 of 27 free throws to offset 17 turnovers in the game. Tyrell Roberts led the Dons with 30 points in the win.
The Dons enter this game 110th in the nation in scoring offense with 75 points per game on the year. San Francisco is 46th in rebounding by pulling down 35.6 boards per contest while dishing out 13.2 assists a night this season. The Dons are playing average defense for coach Chris Gerlufsen as they allow 69.8 points per game on the season, putting them 198th in the country. Tyrell Roberts leads the team with 15.6 points plus 3.3 rebounds per contest this season. Khalil Shabazz puts up 14.9 points per game while Zane Meeks (12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds) also contributes in double figures. Isaiah Hawthorne, Julian Rishwain, Marcus Williams, Josh Kunen, Saba Gigiberia, Volodymyr Markovetskyy, Toni Rocak and Justin Bieker all have to do their part for the Dons on both ends of the floor. San Francisco shoots 44.7% from the field as a team on the season. The Dons knock down 10.1 triples per game while shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc on the year. San Francisco is above average at the charity stripe, converting 74.7% of their attempts at the stripe this season.
San Diego Toreros Looking to Gain Ground in WCC Standings
San Diego had dropped two straight and four of their previous five games before taking down Pepperdine on the road in their previous contest. The Toreros improved to 10-12 overall and stand 3-5 in conference play, leaving them tied for seventh in the standings. Against Pepperdine, San Diego bolted to a 21-8 lead just over eight minutes into the game only to see their margin trimmed to five at intermission. The Toreros led by as many as 10 in the second half only to see the Waves tie the game at 70 with 3:44 remaining in the game. San Diego regrouped, going on a 10-0 run to take an 80-70 lead with 1:22 remaining and went on to the win. The Toreros shot 53.4% from the field, including six of 17 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 42-33 to offset 18 turnovers. Marcellus Earlington led San Diego with 30 points and 12 rebounds in the win.
The Toreros are putting up an average of 78.4 points per game so far this season, leaving them 41st in the nation in scoring offense. San Diego pulls down an average of 34.1 rebounds a game while dishing out 13.6 assists a night. The Toreros have been well below average defensively as they enter the contest ranked 352nd in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 78.7 points a night. Marcellus Earlington leads the team in scoring as he puts up 16.5 points plus 6.7 rebounds a night this season. Jase Townsend (15.2 points, 3.4 rebounds), Eric Williams Jr. (15.1 points, 9.9 boards) and Seikou Sisoho Jawara (11.6 points, 3.3 assists) are also averaging in double figures. Jaiden Delaire, Wayne McKinney III, Deuce Turner, Bendji Pierre and Nic Lynch are other guys that the team looks to for contributions. San Diego shoots 45.2% from the field as a team this season. The Toreros knock down 7.7 triples a night while sinking 35.6% from beyond the arc. San Diego is shooting 76.4% from the charity stripe as a team on the year, making them well above average in that department.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Dons have regressed in year one of the post-Todd Golden era as they have struggled at times to put together a full 40 minutes on both ends of the floor. San Francisco is rested for this one, having had the week off after beating BYU last week, and they face a San Diego team that has major issues on the defensive end of the floor. While it’s true that the Toreros are capable of putting up their fair share of points, it’s always concerning when you can’t stop the opposition. Shabazz has been around and is a proven leader that the Dons can look to in crunch time of games. We saw the Dons win at home in the first meeting this season and they should be able to take advantage of the defensive woes of the Toreros to earn the win here, sweeping the season series.
Prediction: San Francisco Dons -3
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Full-Game Total Pick
San Francisco has seen the under hit in 14 of their 22 games with a posted total this season. The Dons are 75th in tempo with 69.2 possessions per game. They stand 46th in effective field goal percentage (53.5%) and 67th in two-point shooting (53.1%) on the year though they do turn the ball over a fair amount. San Francisco is just 305th in the nation in turnover percentage as they cough up the ball on 20.5% of their possessions this season. For the season, the Toreros have been an over machine, going over the mark in 16 of their 20 games with a posted total. San Diego is 162nd in effective field goal percentage (50.7%) and 162nd in offensive rebounding percentage (29.5%) this season. The Toreros don’t beat themselves with miscues as they commit turnovers on just 15.9% of their possessions, which is 30th in the nation. San Diego plays at a faster than average clip, ranking 86th in tempo with 68.9 possessions a game. We saw 148 points in the first meeting and with the Toreros having defensive issues, this game winds up over the total.
Prediction: Over 155.5
Written By Chris King , "Chris King"
Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO. If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career. Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.