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BYU vs. San Diego Betting Preview

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Published on:
Feb/25/2011
BYU vs. San Diego

This BYU vs. San Diego State betting preview is courtesy of Sportsbook.com.  Watch for the line on this game overnight and into the AM Saturday.

Who says the regular season is meaningless? Don’t try and tell that to a fan of the Mountain West Conference. When San Diego State and Brigham Young meet in the Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl Saturday, the contest could go a long way towards deciding who will be the champions of the MWC. While both teams are in the top-10 nationally and locks to make the field of 68, the Cougars and the Aztecs are playing for positioning for their seeding in the big dance. Tied at 12-1 atop the conference, 7th-ranked BYU can wrest away control of the league with a victory over Steve Fisher’s 6th-ranked Aztecs, having previously defeated them in Utah. If they can find a way to complete this portion of the season with a Mountain West Tournament championship, the Cougars will have a strong argument for why they deserve a number one seed in the West. But lets not get ahead of ourselves, right now the biggest game of the year is the next one, and BYU will have to deal with an angry rival that is out to avenge its only loss of the year, and hungry to apply the brakes to that express train known as Jimmer Fredette mania.

Just about everything about these two teams this year can be characterized by three words: neck and neck. Not only are they that way in the conference standings, they are separated by just one loss (27-1 versus 26-2) overall, and even in the RPI ratings, San Diego State is rated 4th, just two spots behind Brigham Young, who sit at No. 2. The only time where closeness wasn’t quite the case was in the first meeting of the year, when BYU defeated the Aztecs 71-58, snapping the 20-game win streak that began San Diego State’s season. "It was a physical game and we stayed with them for about 35 minutes, but we just couldn't hang for 40," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said.

The Cougars did it with a heavy dose of Jimmer Fredette (27.4 PPG, 4.2 APG). The nation’s leading scorer and national Player of the Year candidate torched the visitors for 43 points on 14-of-24 shooting, which included 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. Fredette was spectacular, but he got some key help. Reserve center James Anderson had a career-high five blocks in just 14 minutes of action, and sophomore forward Brandon Davies (11.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG) got his team off to a fast start with eight points in the first 10 minutes of the game. Forward Noah Hartsock led BYU with seven rebounds, and the entire Cougars team was tenacious at covering Aztecs shooters all over the floor, as San Diego State shot just 35.5% on the night. Another key effort was turned in by guard Jackson Emery, BYU’s all-time steals leader, who held SDSU guard D.J. Gay (12.1 PPG, 3.5 APG) to two points on 0-for-7 shooting from the floor.

One of the things that did work for the Aztecs was the play of sophomore forward Kawhi Leonard (15.2 PPG, 10.7 RPG). Leonard posted 22 points and 15 boards against BYU, but his six turnovers were backbreakers, as the Aztecs attempted to mount a late second-half comeback. Leonard is one of the most complete forwards as there is in the country, consistently filling the stat sheet with points and rebounds on a game-by-game basis. Leonard has failed to reach double-figure scoring in just three of the 27 games he has played this year. The performances in Provo by Gay and top rebounder Malcolm Thomas (11.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG) were particularly surprising, as the two players combined to shoot just 4-for-18 from the floor. The Aztecs were 25% (5-for-20) from three-point territory, well below their 35.3% clip for the season. The January 26 game played before a ferocious crowd of 22,700 marked the first time that two Mountain West teams each in the top-10 squared off against each other. Saturday will be the second time. The Aztecs are hoping for the sequel to surpass the original. Bring your popcorn.

Despite their 25-2 SU record, the Cougars are just 11-13 ATS this year, including 7-7 ATS in non-home games. They are also 10-11 ATS after a straight-up win. Since losing to BYU, San Diego State has played stellar defense, holding all seven opponents to 62 points or less (56.3 PPG). The Aztecs are 7-4 ATS at home and have won their 13 home games by an average of 19.5 PPG.

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