UC Irvine Anteaters vs. UC Riverside Highlanders Pick-Odds-Prediction - 3/13/14 Big West Playoffs
UC Riverside Highlanders (10-20) at UC Irvine Anteaters (22-10)
College Basketball: Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 9:00 pm (Honda Center)
The Line: UC Irvine Anteaters -10 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
The top seed UC Irvine Anteaters knock heads with the UC Riverside Highlanders in Big West playoff action.
UC Riverside has struggled for consistency in most areas from day one and those struggles continued right on through the end of the regular season. The Highlanders showed the ability to score but only for a few games and it was much the same at the defensive end which is why many close games ended up in the loss column. UCR finished with a 5-11 conference record but it was as competitive as 5-11 could be without knowing if the scoring or defense was coming or going on any given day. Obviously the Highlanders have to keep the scoreboard managable and if they do then Taylor Johns (12 ppg) and Chris Patton (13 ppg) better touch the ball alot with both shooting over 52%.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
There is a good reason UC Irvine was the top dog in the Big West during the regular season and it was a great combination of scoring and defense with heavy emphasis on the latter. The Anteaters averaged nearly 72 points on over 47% marksmanship while the defense gave up 64 points on a mere 37.5%. I would say Irvine could win in any way but in truth the defense seldom gave up more then 60 points so not too much scoring was required. I would expect another quality effort from the defensive end of the floor in the opener and if Luke Nelson, Chris McNealy and Will Davis II crack ten points they will win.
The Anteaters have won both meetings in 2013-14 by an average of 19 points so that doesn't make UC Riverside look appealing unless they just go and get the win and get ready for round two...