Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders Pick-Odds-Prediction 2/20/14
UC Riverside Highlanders (8-17) at Santa Barbara Gauchos (16-7)
College Basketball: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 10:00 pm (Thunderdome)
The Line: Santa Barbara Gauchos -16 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Storyline: UC Santa Barbara eyes first place in the Big West when they welcome UC Riverside to the Thunderdome Thursday.
The Breakdown: The Gauchos sit one game behind UC Irvine in second place at 7-3 and come in off an 80-78 overtime loss to Cal State Northridge Saturday. UCSB connected on 24 of 65 from the floor and 7 of 26 from outside the arc to the Matadors’ 27 of 63 from the field and 9 of 17 from distance. The Gauchos finished with a 46-41 advantage on the boards, but committed 18 turnovers. Junior C Alan Williams had 22 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, junior G Zalmico Harmon scored 21 points and dished out 8 assists, and sophomore F Taran Brown added 12 points and 8 rebounds. On the season, UCSB is averaging 73.0 ppg on 47.0 percent shooting. Williams leads the team with 22.7 ppg, followed by senior G Kyle Boswell at 11.0 ppg.
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Meanwhile, UC Riverside has lost its last three, dropping to 3-8 for 9th place in the conference after a 70-52 trouncing at UC Irvine Saturday. The Highlanders shot a dismal 28.6 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from outside the arc to the Anteaters’ 44.8 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from downtown. UC Riverside came away with a 42-38 rebounding advantage, but committed 17 turnovers. Sophomore F Taylor Johns had a team-high 12 points and 10 boards and freshman G Sam Finley scored 11 points off the bench. Through 25 games, the Highlanders are averaging 68.2 ppg on 43.2 percent shooting. Senior C Chris Patton leads the team with 13.3 ppg, followed by Johns at 13.1 ppg.
Rick’s Pick: The line in this one is currently set at -16 for UCSB, a big number considering these two went down to the wire a month ago, with the Gauchos narrowly escaping in a 68-65 overtime thriller on the road. Riverside is slumping, but its three straight losses happen to be to the conference’s top three teams. Look for a closer game than the spread.