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College hoops handicapper Stephen Rodriguez gives us his picks for a strong slate

BET OF THE DAY 2u - Saint Mary’s Gaels (+4.5) @ -110

Saint Mary’s Gaels @ #15 BYU Cougars,11:30 PM:

The reason we’re backing Saint Mary’s

#15 BYU (24-7) ended the regular season on a high note with a ninth consecutive win after blowing out Pepperdine 81-64.

The Cougars couldn’t miss, shooting over 50 percent from both the field and three-point range.

Yoeli Childs put on an absolute clinic, totaling a monster double-double with 38 points and 14 rebounds. Jake Toolson was one of two other players scoring in double figures, adding 11 points and eight rebounds.

Saint Mary’s (25-7) outlasted a marathon Quarterfinal game with Pepperdine, defeating the Waves in double overtime 89-81.

Jordan Ford had himself day, totaling nearly half of the Gaels’ points while knocking down five three-pointers for 42 points. Tommy Kuhse and Malik Fitts both added 11 points.

These teams met twice this season and split both meetings by three points or less. With that being said, this matchup will surely come down to the wire yet again.

My expectation is the Gaels will do enough to at least keep the game within the spread.

1u - San Francisco Dons (+12.5) @ -110

San Francisco Dons @ #2 Gonzaga Bulldogs, 9:00 PM:

The reason we’re backing San Francisco

#2 Gonzaga (29-2) finished the season strong by defeating Saint Mary’s at home 86-76.

The Zags’ offense was too much to handle, shooting 58 percent the field and 54 percent from three-point range.

Corey Kispert and Filip Petrusev were the biggest difference makers - Kispert knocked down 4-of-5 threes for 20 points and Petrusev scored a game-high 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting with six rebounds.

San Francisco (22-11) barely broke a sweat in the WCC Quarterfinals when handling Pacific 72-54.

The Dons’ offense was on point, shooting 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.

Charles Minlend led the charge with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting and Jimbo Lull was right behind with 16 points.

Although San Francisco lost both meetings with Gonzaga this season, the Dons led at halftime in each of those two meetings.

If San Francisco can figure out how to keep up in the second half I wouldn’t be surprised if they won outright. However, I’ll play it conservative and take them to cover with the points.

1u – Miami Redhawks (+9.5) @ -110

Miami (OH) Redhawks @ Buffalo Bulls, 7:30 PM:

The reason we’re backing Miami

Both the Buffalo Bulls and Miami (OH) Redhawks ended the season heading in completely opposite directions.

Buffalo (20-11) won a second straight game after holding off Bowling Green 88-84.

Despite being out-rebounded 45 to 34, the Bulls managed to make their offensive opportunities count by shooting over 54 percent from the field.

Jayvon Graves was the catalyst of the offense, scoring a game-high 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Josh Mballa came up big off the bench, posting a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Miami (12-19) lost a second straight game after falling at home to instate rival Ohio 67-65.

The Redhawks struggled to figure it out on offense with only three players scoring in double figures as Bam Bowman and Dae Dae Grant were the lone starters to get anything going.

Bowman scored a team-high 17 points with five rebounds and Grant added 13 points.

These teams played twice this season, and as recently as a week ago, which both resulted in the Bulls winning by five and six points.

With those matchups being decided narrowly, my expectation is a similar outcome.

The spread is far too high for me to have confidence in Buffalo covering, so take Miami with the points.


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