The Big West Conference Tourney battle between the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (21-10, 10-6 BigWst) and the UC Riverside Highlanders (17-15, 7-9 BigWst) will take place at Honda Center. The Over/Under (O/U) for the game has been set at 121 points with UC Santa Barbara opening as a 3-point favorite. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
UC Riverside Highlanders vs. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos ATS Preview
The last time the Highlanders played, they defeated the UC Davis Aggies, 66-61, covering as 4.5-point favorites. Arinze Chidom was the game’s leading scorer with 26 points on 9-for-13 shooting. UC Riverside’s effective field goal percentage was their biggest strength over UC Davis. The Highlanders had a rate of 0.615 (above their season average of 0.505), while the Aggies posted a mark of 0.473 (below their season average of 0.536). The two teams combined to put up 127 points, which was under the O/U total of 130.5.
Although the Gauchos beat the Cal Poly Mustangs in their last contest, 69-67, they failed to cover as 12.5-point favorites. With 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, JaQuori McLaughlin was the top scorer from either team. UC Santa Barbara dominated nearly every facet of the game. They had a phenomenal offensive rebounding percentage of 40.5 (above their season average of 31.7) and a free throw rate of 0.246 (matching their season average). For those same stats, Cal Poly put up marks of 20.0 and 0.140, respectively. The two squads collectively scored 136 points, which came in just over the O/U total of 134.5.
In terms of the O/U total, these teams are complete opposites. UC Riverside games have finished under 69.0 percent of the time, while games involving UC Santa Barbara have finished over 57.1 percent of the time. The Gauchos have the sizable advantage straight up (SU) (21-10 vs. 17-15), but both teams are close to the .500 mark against the spread (ATS).
The game should be a showdown of strength against strength as the productive offense of UC Santa Barbara takes on the top-notch defense of UC Riverside. The Gauchos rank 35th in offensive efficiency, while the Highlanders are 38th in defensive efficiency.
UC Riverside vs. UC Santa Barbara Free Prediction
Pick: SU Winner – UC Santa Barbara, ATS Winner – UC Santa Barbara, O/U – Under
The Gauchos rank 23rd in blocks allowed per game (2.5) while the Highlanders rank 46th (2.7).
UC Santa Barbara is sixth in the country with 29.7 rebounds allowed per game while UC Riverside is ninth with 30.3 rebounds allowed per game.
UC Riverside ranks 121st in three pointers attempted per game (22.6) while UC Santa Barbara ranks 243rd (18.9).
The Gauchos are sixth in the NCAA with 4.5 steals allowed per game while the Highlanders are 52nd with 5.6 steals allowed per game.
UC Riverside ranks 37th in assists allowed per game (10.7) while UC Santa Barbara ranks 70th (11.5).
UC Santa Barbara is 2-3 ATS with 4 unders and 1 over in its last five games.
Across its past five games, UC Riverside is 3-2 ATS with 5 unders.
The Gauchos’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 2.4, down from 4.5 for the season.
During their last five games, the Highlanders have scored an average of 58.2 points per game (6.1 below their season average) and allowed an average of 54.8 points per game (5.8 below their season average).