Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#759 Saint Mary's vs.
#760 California
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 10:30pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes



#759 Saint Mary's College of California
#760 University of California, Berkeley


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Saint Mary's takes on California on Saturday night in a non-conference battle from Haas Pavilion. The Gaels are coming off a 78-68 loss to No. 15 Dayton last Sunday at home, while Cal defeated Fresno State, 69-63 at home on Wednesday. That win broke a two-game losing streak for the Golden Bears.

These teams met last season with Saint Mary's beat up on the Bears, 84-71 at home.

Streak is over

Saint Mary's had won seven straight games before falling to Dayton last Sunday in the Jerry Colangelo Classic from Phoenix. The Flyers shot 54% from the floor and 13-of-24 from beyond the arc. That tells you how good Dayton is because the Gaels are usually one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Saint Mary's shot just 33% from the field in the first half but shot 56.6% in the second. They also shot 7 of 16 from three-point range and came into the game shooting 44.4%, which led the nation.

Malik Fitts (6-8, 230) led the Gaels with 21 points and eight boards on 7-of-12 shooting against the Flyers. Sophomore guard Kristers Zoriks (6-4, 190) added 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Guard Jordan Ford leads the Gaels with 19.4 points per game on 48.5% shooting (40.6% 3pt). Fitts adds 14.5 points and 7.8 rebounds on 46.6% shooting (40% 3pt).

Saint Mary's averages 74.6 points per game on 49.3% shooting (21st). They allow 61.9 points per game on 43.9% shooting (35.2% 3pt). They outrebound teams by 3.9 per game.

Playing at a slow pace

Cal opened the season winning their first four games, but then reality struck. They were thrashed by Duke, 87-52 on Nov. 21 and Texas, 62-45 on Nov. 22 in the Empire Classic. But a loss to San Francisco by 12 and to Santa Clara by 19, shows that the rebuild for Mark Fox is just beginning and will take awhile.

Fortunately, Cal defeated Fresno State by six. Sophomore wing Matt Bradley (6-4, 220) led the Bears with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting, while 6-3 guard Kareem South added 17 points. South is a transfer from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, who averaged 13.9 points per game last season.

The offense is a major issue right now with Cal averaging just 65.6 points per game (295th) on 45.7% shooting (40% 3pt). They are shooting it well, but slowing it down with a pace of 305th in the nation. On defense, they are allowing 68.3 points per game on 40.1% shootign (34.9% 3pt).

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


Saint Mary's is a much better team than Cal, a squad that went 8-23 overall and 3-15 in the Pac-12 last season. The Gaels don't mind playing a slow pace. They play even slower at 344 in the nation, but they can score. They still lead the nation in three-point shooting percentage, so the longer shot hasn't bothered them. Cal has struggled to defend the three-point shot (268th in the nation) and they are also getting crushed on the boards (-1.9). Take the Gaels in a rout on the road.

Prediction: Saint Mary's -7

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


Both teams are playing at a snail's pace. Both squads are in the 300s when it comes to possessions per game. So you are not going to see either squad score in the 70's. Saint Mary's might reach 65 and the Golden Bears will struggle to get in the 50s. Cal is averaging just 65.6 points per game and they are playing one of the top defensive teams on their schedule. Take the under.

Prediction: Under 127

Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!