How to watch (and bet)
Date: Thursday, 11/24/22
Tip-Off Time: 9:30 pm PT
Location: Anaheim, California
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies +11
St. Mary’s Gaels 2022-23 Statistics:
For points per game: 73.8 (120th)
Against per game points: 53.8 (12th)
Adequate offensive efficiency: 108.6 (50th)
Adequate Defense Efficiency: 88.0 (7th)
Schedule strength: 182
St. Mary’s in Key Players:
G- Logan Johnson, Sr. 6’2, 177; 11.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.2 apg, 43.5% FG, 21.1% 3pt, 65.0% FT.
Johnson took over the point guard duties when he played more ball last year and has thrived to this point. She prefers to cut to the basket much more for her so-so 3-pt shooting offense, but she is adept at picking up the roll and finding St. Mary’s bigs or making the hoop. He is also handsome for his size.
G- Aidan Mahaney, Fr. 6’3, 180; 13.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 40.6% FG, 46.7% 3pt, 68.8% FT.
Mahaney comes in as a true freshman and sensation for the Gaels. Unlike Johnson, he has to finish at the rim but is a terrific 3-pt shooter making almost half of his outside shots on 5 attempts per game. He has the potential to be a real zone buster.
G-Alex Dukes, Sr. 6’7, 220; 13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 47.3% FG, 50.0% 3pt, 61.5% FT.
Tonight against the Vanderbilt Dukes he shot 1/6 from 3-pt range and yet is still making 50% of his shots on 7+ attempts per game which should tell you how crazy a start he has gone to this year. He is a pretty complete complimentary wing player who is a great shooter, a good defender, an adequate passer and a solid rebounder.
F. Kyle Bowen, Sr. 6’8, 222; 5.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.3 apg, 40.0% FG, 55.6% 3pt, 55.6% FT.
Bowen has been fine as the 5th wheel in this starting lineup and doesn’t throw the ball very often. Like a lot of other Gaels, he was much better from 3-pt range than inside the arc. He does the dirty work as a rebounder and shot blocker to never turn the ball over.
C. Mitchell Saxen, Jr. 6’10, 242; 12.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 62.1% FG, 73.7% FT
Those who follow local recruiting may remember Saxen who was a star at Ingraham High School. Washington never appeared very enthusiastic and he may regret it. Saxen played limited minutes playing behind St. Mary’s star Mathias Tass, but now Tass has moved on to show his talent. He is an above-average shot blocker and rebounder, though not entirely dominant at either, and has polished touch around the rim with a good post-up game. The Gaels will attack the Huskies on the loose and roll with Saxen every time they defend in man.
Washington was obviously hoping to beat Fresno State in the “semifinals” of the MTE Legacy Woods, but it certainly poses a tough challenge on Thanksgiving night. Saint Mary’s is always in the top 25 and that’s where they are again this year. The Gaels are 6-0 since the start and have not had any game closer than 8 points. None of their opponents were in KenPom’s Top-75, but they still dominated against better teams than the Huskies.
The key to Saint Mary’s defense so far this year has been their shutouts. When you are 12 in points per game and 7 in defensive efficiency it makes it pretty obvious that you were lucky. The key was an inner defense that no one could penetrate. Opponents are shooting 38.5% inside the arc which is 5th in the country. Mitchell Saxen and Kyle Bowen aren’t the top pick, but they’re both solid.
So far, the Gaels have gotten teams to rely on separation and ball heroes rather than operating their offense. They are 15th in the country with opponents making 36.8% of their baskets. Because of the Husky offense, which has 0 assists at halftime, that certainly suggests that if Washington wants to score, it’s going to be a lot of tough 1-on-1 shots.
While offense is not a strength at Saint Mary’s they are no slouches. The passing night broke for the Gaels making just 3/11 shots from outside against Vanderbilt, but the Huskies also managed to go 5/24. Although St. Mary’s is 11th in the region this year, it is making 41.9% of its 3-point attempts. The scoring tonight is inconsistent and tends to fall off over the course of the season, but the Gaels have several shooters and if the Huskies get open looks, it’s unlikely that St. Mary’s will miss too often.
This is also offensive, because he takes care of the ball 9th in the opponent, who stole the rate, picking his pockets in just 5.1% of possessions. That doesn’t bode well for the Husky offense, which is going to have to find ways to get passing opportunities on what’s next to a good ball-scoring day.
If there’s one thing that works in favor of Washington, it’s that the Gaels like to play at a snail’s pace. They are 343rd in average length of possession on offense as they continue to work the ball until they find the perfect lead. Limiting overall possessions could help keep the Huskies in the game and make a few extra 3 pointers a game.
On top of that though, it’s a very tough matchup for a Washington team that still has gel on offense. If the Huskies can stay competitive, it will be a great defensive effort and make this a win-win game with 62 points like last night. Even then, I’m not sure if the Dawgs can get up to 62 points against this Gaels defense. Keion Brooks will have to show up after just making 8/27 shots when he returns from injury. Washington needs a better performance but I don’t trust the future today.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Washington Huskies— 58, St. Mary in Gaels- 74