Towson guard Jakigh Dottin (5) celebrates after making a three point shot against Florida during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)
- San Francisco and Towson tip off the 2020-21 college basketball season when they meet at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut
- San Francisco is an 8.5-point favorite after going 22-12 last season and returns starting guards Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz
- Read below for the odds, along with analysis and our best bet for this NCAAB matchup
What figures to be a strange college basketball season played in a pandemic begins with a game that came together at the 11th hour and will tip-off at an odd time.
San Francisco faces Towson at 9:00 AM EST on November 25th, 2020 at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Uncasville, Conn. San Francisco takes the place of St. Bonaventure, which was forced to cancel because of positive COVID-19 tests in its program.
San Francisco vs Towson Odds
|San Francisco||N/A||-8.5 (-102)||Over 139.0 (-110)|
|Towson||N/A||+8.5 (-118)||Under 139.0 (-110)|
Odds from Nov. 24
San Francisco and Towson are two of 40 teams that will take part in “Bubbleville” at Mohegan Sun. The teams will not leave the Mohegan Sun grounds in hopes of preventing anyone from contracting and/or spreading the coronavirus.
Bubbleville, baby!!! pic.twitter.com/jiSdCdiwoK
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 24, 2020
It is a fitting way to start a season in which teams are scrambling to put together a non-conference schedule and will likely finish with the NCAA Tournament being played in a bubble in Indianapolis.
Guards Key for Dons
San Francisco went 22-12 in 2019-20 during Todd Golden’s first season as coach and likely would have participated in the NIT if COVID-19 had not wiped out the postseason.
The Dons took powerhouse Gonzaga to the wire before losing by four points in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament.
San Francisco lost three starters to graduation from that team and, will rely on its experienced backcourt in the early stages of this season.
Senior Jamaree Bouyea and redshirt junior Khalil Shabazz are the returning starters. Bouyea averaged 12 points and 3.5 assists a game last season, while Shabazz scored 10.5 points.
.@TheAndyKatz checks in with the “King of Analytics” @CoachToddGolden, @_JamareeBouyea_, and @Khalilshabazz0@USFDonsMBB | #WCChoops pic.twitter.com/WhLkIaAZhS
— WCC Basketball (@WCChoops) November 23, 2020
The backcourt should also be boosted by junior Damari Milstead, a transfer from Grand Canyon. Two seasons ago, Milstead averaged 10.5 points and 3.6 assists for the Lopes.
The Dons have developed pedigree in recent years with four straight 20-win seasons.
Towson Gets Martin Back
A year ago, Towson went 19-13 under coach Pat Skerry but was knocked out in the quarterfinal round of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
However, the Tigers got some big news in August when point guard Zane Martin decided to transfer back to Towson from New Mexico.
Martin was Towson’s leading scorer in 2018-19 when he had a 19.8 point per game average. However, he decided to leave and averaged 10.1 points and 1.2 steals for the Lobos before learning the grass wasn’t necessarily greener in Albuquerque.
Zane Martin earns Preseason All-CAA, Towson picked to finish fourth in the league preseason poll.
READ: https://t.co/RArrDUQdxr#UnitedWeRoar pic.twitter.com/x1JG3shV0z
— Towson Men’s Hoops (@Towson_MBB) November 11, 2020
Towson has completely turned its roster over since Martin last suited up for the Tigers. The lone returning starter is point guard Jason Gibson, who averaged 8.4 points as a freshman last season.
The presence of Martin will free Gibson up to shoot more this season rather than handle all the playmaking responsibilities.
Wing Nicolas Timberlake will be counted on for more scoring after averaging 6.1 points per game and winning CAA Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2019-20.
First to 1-0
The winner of this game will have the distinction of being the first team of the 2020-21 college basketball season to have a 1-0 record. It will also get to enjoy lunch following the early start.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
The experienced backcourt of Bouyea and Shabazz gives San Francisco an advantage. However, Martin’s return should give Towson enough of a boost to keep things close.
Pick: Towson +8.5 (-118)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.