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North Dakota vs. UC Irvine - 3/16/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

UC Irvine Anteaters (25-9) at North Dakota Fighting Hawks (17-15)

College Basketball: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm (Betty Engelstad Sioux Center)

The Line: North Dakota Fighting Hawks +4.5 -- Over/Under: 142.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: http://www.watchcollegeinsider.com/watch/?Live=36

The UC Irvine Anteaters and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks will face off in the 1st round of the CIT this Wednesday night at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

The UC Irvine Anteaters came into the season as the favorite in the Big West but couldn’t get by their semifinal matchup against LBSU, in which they lost by a 77-72, margin and finished the season with a 25-9 record earning them a trip to the CIT. UC Irvine had one of the better defenses in the country as they rank 40th in scoring defense and 8th in defensive FG%. On the season, the Anteaters were led by 7-6 center, Mamadou Ndiaye, who averaged 12.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and 2.5 bpg. Also contributing for UC Irvine has been Luke Nelson (13.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.2 spg), Alex Young (9.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.5 spg), and Mike Best (9.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg). Offensviely, UC Irvine is averaging 71.1 ppg on 46.0% shooting from the field and 37.1% shooting from beyond the arc. The Anteaters average 6.2 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.24. Defensively, UC Irvine is holding their opponents to an average of 65.9 ppg on 38.7% shooting. The Anteaters have a rebound margin of 2.3 and a turnover margin of -0.6.

North Dakota  vs. UC Irvine  - 3/16/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The North Dakota Fighting Hawks almost pulled off the upset of the top-seed Weber State Wildcats in the Big Sky Men’s Tournament, however, fell to Weber State by an 83-78 margin in OT, and finished the year with a 17-15 record earning them a trip to the CIT. North Dakota was average on both ends of the court this season and was decent on the defense end creating turnovers as they ranked 28th in the country in steals per game. On the season, the Fighting Hawks were led by Quinton Hooker (20.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.9 spg), Geno Crandall (10.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.0 spg), and Drick Bernstine (9.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.2 apg). Offensviely, North Dakota is averaging 74.6 ppg on 45.6% shooting from the field and 35.6% shooting from beyond the arc. The Fighting Hawks average 6.0 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.00. Defensively, North Dakota is allowing their opponents to average 71.2 ppg on 43.5% shooting. The Fighting Hawks have a rebound margin of 0.7 and a turnover margin fo 1.5.

The Anteaters are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Wednesday games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games. The Fighting Hawks are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games.

UC Irvine has to be a bit disappointed that they couldn’t get the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the Big West this season, however, this doesn’t seem like a team that will bring any less effort into the CIT. North Dakota has been playing better at of late but this was still a team that was just above .500 on the season and as they depend much of their scoring from inside the three-point line, I see them having trouble scoring against Mamadou Ndiaye and the Anteaters. UC Irvine was an impressive 10-4 on the road this season and I think they will be able to travel to North Dakota and cover this small spread. Take UC Irvine to cover. 

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UC Irvine Anteaters -4.5

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