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Denver vs. UC Irvine - 11/12/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

UC Irvine Anteaters (0-1) at Denver Pioneers (0-0)

College Basketball: Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Magness Arena)

The Line: Denver Pioneers -3.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: Altitude

The UC Irvine Anteaters will travel to Magness Arena to take on the Denver Pioneers this Sunday night in College Basketball action.

The UC Irvine Anteaters will be looking to avoid a 2nd straight loss to start their 2016-17 season after being defeated by the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 65-54, this past Thursday. UC Irvine went into halftime tied at 31-all however, struggled offensively in the 2nd half and couldn’t fight back after the Jackrabbits took a 59-50 lead with just 3:48 left in regulation. Leading the way for UC Irvine was Eyassu Worku who had 12 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Also contributing for the Anteaters was Jonathan Galloway (4 points, 13 rebounds) and Elston Jones who had 5 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist and a block in 20 minutes from off the bench. UC Irvine finished last season with an overall record of 21-15 record and earned the top-seed in the Big West Tournament after finishing conference play with a 12-4 record. UC Irvine did make it to the Big West Championship game however, couldn’t punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament after being defeated by UC Davis, 50-47. UC Irvine lost some key players in Luke Nelson (16.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and Ioannis Dimakopoulos (10.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg), however, should still be one of the favorites in the Big West after returning Eyassu Worku (7.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.9 apg), Max Hazzard (4.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.3 apg), and Jonathan Galloway (4.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg).

Denver vs. UC Irvine - 11/12/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Pioneers finished their 2016-17 season with an overall record of 16-14 and come into this season with some optimism as the Pioneers return 4 of their top 5 scorers last season. Denver earned the 5-seed in the Summit League Tournament last season with a conference record of 8-8, however, couldn’t get past the quarterfinals after being defeated by South Dakota State, 83-73. Returning the Pioneers will be starters Daniel Amigo (15.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.4 apg), Joe Rosga (15.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.2 apg), Jake Pemberton (9.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.4 spg), and Thomas Neff (7.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.6 apg). Denver will also be returning some key bench players from last year’s squad in Ade Murkey (4.1 ppg, 1.6 rpg), Jake Krafka (4.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg), and Christian Mackey (3.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg). Denver was solid on the offensive end last season after they finished the season ranked 1113th in scoring offense (75.8 ppg), 22nd in FG% (48.2%), and 13th in 3P-FG% (40.2%), however will need to improve on the defensive end as they finished last season ranked 233rd in scoring defense (74.6 ppg) and 325th in turnover margin (-2.7).

The Anteaters finished last season 17-16 ATS and are 3-3 ATS in their last 6 games as an away underdog. The Pioneers finished last season 14-12-1 ATS and are 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 home games.

UC Irvine has some young talent that should develop to make the Anteaters a solid team in the Big West, however, for UC Irvine to be successful they need to find ways to produce more offense. Denver is primed to be one of the better teams in the Summit League this season and should be difficult to contain on the offensive end with the duo of Daniel Amigo and Joe Rosga. I think Denver if flying a bit under the radar entering this season and as I expect UC Irvine to continue to struggle to score the ball, I’m taking Denver to cover this small spread. 

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