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#7 BYU at #4 San Diego State
Game Prediction With Analysis
The fourth-ranked San Diego State Aztecs (27-1, 12-1 Mountain West) will look to avenge their only loss of the season and try to beat the BYU Cougars (26-2, 12-1) for the first time in four games when they square off on Saturday. The conference’s first-ever Top 10 matchup took place last month with BYU’s Jimmer Fredette erupting for 43 points in a 71-58 home win.
This time around, the top two Mountain West schools will be featured in a nationally-televised game on CBS that is already the most hyped college basketball game in San Diego State history. Tickets have been sold out for months, and the build-up will be even greater knowing a potential #1 seed in the NCAA tournament could be on the line depending on how both teams finish.
The Cougars lost their very next game at New Mexico after beating the Aztecs in the first meeting but have since rebounded by winning six in a row, going 3-3 against the spread. Their only other loss came away from home against another school from Southern California in the John R. Wooden Classic in Anaheim. BYU suffered an 86-79 setback to UCLA despite a game-high 25 points from Fredette, who is ironically the favorite to win the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s top player.
Fredette is the top scorer in the country, averaging 27.4 points per game. Last year in San Diego, he scored 33 points after recovering from strep throat and mononucleosis. He will face a fierce front line for the Aztecs, including a pair of seniors in Billy White and Malcolm Thomas along with the league’s second-best player in sophomore Kawhi Leonard, who scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds in the first meeting.
San Diego State brings a seven-game winning streak overall and 18-game home winning streak into this game, which will also help determine the #1 seed in the Mountain West tournament. The Aztecs have covered three of their last four games and close out the regular season with a road game at Wyoming and a home game against Colorado State before heading to Las Vegas.
Leonard had 18 points and 15 rebounds in a 70-58 road win at Air Force last Saturday while Thomas finished with a game-high 20 points and grabbed 13 boards. San Diego State trailed 32-31 at halftime but used a 16-5 run in the second half to seize control of the game.
This was written prior to any lines being posted on this game. Our model predicts a 3 point San Diego State win. We imagine the line will be right on our number. It's hard not to like San Diego State here. National TV audience, revenge, and a pretty good team to boot. We'd consider the Aztecs a strong opinion at -3 or less and would consider playing them up to -4. Revenge is sweet. Anything higher than -4 we'd have to pass.
Predicted Score San Diego State 72 BYU 69
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