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San Francisco vs. Saint Mary's prediction and pick for Thursday's college basketball showdown between the two teams. Handicapper Lightning Locks gives us their take on this game and tells us how to bet it.

San Francisco vs. Saint Mary's Prediction: What Can We Expect in this Battle Out West?

We go out to the West Coast Conference, which is one of the stronger conferences in the country as they may get 4 teams in the tournament this year. Two of those 4 teams play tonight as San Francisco visits Saint Mary's in a battle for second place in the conference. These teams did play earlier in the year in San Francisco and St. Mary's pulled out a 72-70 road win. There are no injuries at all in this game and we have a great road team (5-1)  in SF and a great home team in St. Marys (13-0), who is undefeated but hasn't played Gonzaga at home yet.

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San Francisco vs. Saint Mary's Prediction

These teams, as we mentioned, met three weeks ago and San Fran started the game like they were shot out of a cannon as they were up 25-6 after 8 minutes. They were up as much as 23 points in the first half. Then it happened. They went cold and only scored three points the rest of the half on a lucky shot at the buzzer.

Unless you are the NY Knicks, who have blown 3 leads of 20 or more, you don't usually lose when you are up that big. In the second half, it happened again. As a 6-minute drought in the second half let Saint Mary's climb all the way back and get the win. This was a flat-out choke. San Francisco was shooting well all game but just fell flat when it mattered. The shooting droughts are inexcusable and the bad free-throw shooting has haunted SF all year, being 225th in the country. 

We feel that one man changed and won the game for St. Mary's in the first meeting, that is their big Estonian, Matthias Tass, who had a career-high 27 points and 12 rebounds. He was the most consistent player all game, opposed to SF who had 4 guys score in double figures. The Dons have been great all year at contesting shots as they rank 25th in Effective Field Goal percentage allowed and they are even better at stopping threes, allowing the 11th lowest 3-point percentage. Teams usually beat one man and tonight San Francisco will stop Tass, or contain him, and get their revenge.

Teams don't usually blow leads like that at home and Coach Todd Golden, a former player himself, said this game has been circled as SF has only lost one game by a bucket since that one. SF was the better team in the first game and gave it away. They will prove they are the better team tonight and beat St. Mary's on the road but we will gladly take the 3 points as we saw how tight the last game ended.

We go out West looking for gold and San Fran needs to give us that gold so take the +3 with them tonight at St. Mary's. Let's hope we can say we didn't need the points once it's over. 

San Francisco vs. Saint Mary's Line Movement

San Francisco vs. Saint Mary's Pick

PICK: San Francisco +3 @ -110 (Bet $110 to win $100)

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