Hawaii Warriors vs. UC Irvine Anteaters Pick-Odds-Prediction 2/21/14
UC Irvine Anteaters (17-9) at Hawaii Warriors (18-7)
College Basketball: Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:00 am (Stan Sheriff Center)
The Line: Hawaii Warriors -2.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Storyline: UC Irvine eyes five consecutive victories when they travel to the Aloha State to square off with Hawaii Thursday.
The Breakdown: The Anteaters sit atop the Big West standings in first place, improving to 8-2 after a 70-52 trouncing of UC Riverside Saturday. UC Irvine outshot the Highlanders from the floor 44.8 percent to 28.6 percent and from beyond the arc 40.0 percent to 27.3 percent. The Anteaters conceded a 42-38 advantage on the boards, but forced 17 turnovers and converted 12 of 17 from the free throw line. Sophomore G Dominique Dunning scored a game-high 20 points off the bench, sophomore G Alex Young had 11 points and 6 assists, and senior G Chris McNealy added 10 points and 5 steals. On the season, UC Irvine is averaging 72.9 ppg on 47.7 percent shooting. Freshman G Luke Nelson leads the team with 12.1 ppg, followed by McNealy at 11.6 ppg.
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Meanwhile, Hawaii improved to 7-4 for 3rd place in the conference after its third consecutive win, 83-80 over CS Fullerton Saturday. The Warriors connected on 27 of 54 from the field and 5 of 9 from outside the arc to the Titans’ 29 of 65 from the field and 6 of 17 from distance. Hawaii conceded a 36-33 advantage on the boards, but converted 24 of 26 from the free throw line. Sophomore F Isaac Fotu scored a team-high 24 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, senior G Brandon Spearman had 14 points, including 2 of 3 from downtown, and junior G Garrett Nevels added 12 points. Through 25 games, the Warriors are averaging 81.4 ppg on 47.7 percent shooting. Senior F Christian Standhardinger leads the team with 17.6 ppg, followed by Fotu at 15.8 ppg.
Rick’s Pick: The line in this matchup is currently set at -2.5 for Hawaii. This is essentially a battle for the top of the Big West standings as the Warriors are 1.5 games behind first place UC Irvine and a half a game behind second place UCSB. These two went down to the wire a little less than a month ago and Hawaii escaped with a 90-86 overtime road victory. The Warriors are at home so look for the season sweep.