San Jose State visits Saint Mary’s and here’s the prediction and pick for tonight’s game.
San Jose State at Saint Mary’s is a mismatch to say the least as this game features a dark horse National Champion contender hosting a San Jose State team who is a bit inexperienced and is coming off a terrible 2015-16 season under Dave Wojcik. Saint Mary’s features a slow paced offense that focuses on ball movement and movement without the ball and plays defensively tough, but may not be as good on that end this season.
About Saint Mary’s
Saint Mary’s is not a particular deep nor overly experienced basketball team, but they are a skilled and well-coached team that has bought into Randy Bennett’s offense. Bennett’s offense is VERY set-oriented and it does not have any sort of an orthodoxy as far as how it operates. Bennett borrows different sets found in the professional game and collegiate game. He likes to use the “Iverson Series” that Larry Brown featured when he coached Allen Iverson with the Philadelphia 76ers and he’ll borrow from Mike Montgomery’s Basic Offense. There’s lots of good sharing of the basketball in this offense.
Saint Mary’s plays a particularly slow pace and they enforce it on both ends of the floor.
In fact, Ken Pomeroy has Saint Mary’s as the fourth slowest program in College Basketball this season. They are faster than Wisconsin and Virginia, but not by much. Their adjusted tempo is 64.4 possessions per game.
Last season, Saint Mary’s was the fifth slowest program in College Basketball per Ken Pomeroy and they had an adjusted tempo of 62.7 possessions per game.
Saint Mary’s is the model of offensive efficiency in the half court and they are a money zone team, even though they can score in the mid-range. 46.6% of their shots are taken in the restricted arc and 13.5% of their shots are taken in the mid-range. How three point shooting happy does Saint Mary’s get is an open question.
Defensively, St. Mary’s forces opponents to shoot shots outside of the restricted arc really well and they allow a low percentage of shots made inside the restricted arc, 46.3%. St. Mary’s works to keep you out of transition.
What can possibly be wrong with this team? They have a high propensity to foul and this means Free Throws. The fouls are not in the pursuit of forcing turnovers either OR they are just that bad at trying to force turnovers. Their ability to rebound is paramount as they really have no other way of ending an opponent’s possession.
The lack of turnovers plays a big role in reducing possessions in the game for the Gaels.
About San Jose State
San Jose State is a bit young, but there is nothing that Saint Mary’s does that will put them under duress. However, Saint Mary’s offense tests defensive resolve.
The scoring distribution is a bit spread out, but Brandon Clarke clearly leads the way. Jalen James is the team’s best three point shooter and the team has been off to a good shooting start thus far.
Against Division I competition, the metrics appear a bit different.
San Jose State is not going to wow anyone with their offensive efficiency, which is a product of not being able to finish at the rim.
San Jose State does not foul much, but they do not force fouls either. They excel at forcing turnovers and getting defensive rebounds.
San Jose State will look to push pace as 28.7% of their shots are in transition. San Jose State does a better job of keeping opponents out of transition shots than Saint Mary’s! 17.1% of shots against San Jose State were in transition.
San Jose State at Saint Mary’s Prediction and Pick
San Jose State will force a few more turnovers than Saint Mary’s is accustomed, but the pace of this game will not go above 65. Saint Mary’s is the better team, but they are not the type of team that could blow away a Mountain West Conference opponent like SJSU like the way a North Carolina or Kentucky could completely embarrass an opponent. Expect a low scoring game with less second chance scoring opportunities for Saint Mary’s. San Jose State will do enough to disrupt Saint Mary’s so that this is not an embarrassing game for them.
Odds Shark Score
All signs confirm that while Saint Mary’s is superior they do not play the pace nor style that lends itself to blowing an opponent out by 30 or more, which is the real proposition here. (SJSU’s biggest nonconference loss last season was by 20 during their 9-22 season). The other could be the total (139.5 at Intertops), which has the expectation of San Jose State making this more competitive.
Prediction: Saint Mary’s 76 San Jose State 58 (San Jose State +27.5)
Pick of the Day is 7-4 after a win last night from Houston over George Mason in an absolute blowout winner.