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UC Irvine Anteaters vs. CS Northridge Matadors - 1/23/14

CS Northridge Matadors (10-9) at UC Irvine Anteaters (12-7)

College Basketball: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 10:00 pm (Bren Events Center)

The Line: UC Irvine Anteaters -12 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV:

It should be a good one when Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine meet Thursday night in the Bren Evans Arena. It’s a matchup between two of the better teams in the Big West and both squads have had their moments throughout the season.

The Matadors have been the less consistent of the two, which would explain the line. They’ve lost their last two games and are a lousy 4-8 against the spread. To make matters worse, they’ve only covered the spread once in eight road games. While those numbers may scare you away, they do shoot a high 46.5 percent from the field and have three players averaging at least 15 points. It’s also a team that takes advantage of the free throw line, shooting above 85 percent in the last five games.

UC Irvine Anteaters vs. CS Northridge Matadors - 1/23/14

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

UC Irvine is the best team in the Big West, winners in five straight and a decent 6-3 straight up record at home. The Anteaters are a fast paced team that looks to get up and down the floor and wants to score tons of points. They shoot 48.3 percent from the field and get their points from a variety of different players. They share the ball well and are a really fun team to watch.

The problem I have in this game is the free throw percentage. UC Irvine shoots just 63.6 from the charity stripe, while Cal State Northridge knocks down 77.8 percent of its freebies. The Matadors have enough firepower to keep this game close and with the free throw percentage in its favors, the road team could possibly even win this game.

All of the trends lean in UC Irvine’s favor, but my gut is telling me there’s going to be an upset. The Matadors haven’t lost three straight all season long and will be looking to come away with an impressive road victory to keep it that way.

Give me the hungrier team and the points.

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Cal State Northridge +12

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