Baylor vs. UC-Santa Barbara Pick – Basketball Predictions & Odds 3/17/23
Baylor Bears (22-10) vs. UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos (27-7)
March 17, 2023 1:30 pm EDT
The Line: Baylor Bears -11.5 / UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos +11.5; Over/Under: +144.5
(Get latest betting odds)
The Baylor Bears and the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos meet in college basketball action from the Ball Arena on Friday afternoon.
Baylor Bears Team Preview
The Baylor Bears come into the NCAA tournament after going 22-10 in the regular season with an 11-7 mark in Big 12 conference play. The Bears would be quickly ousted from the Big 12 conference tournament by Iowa State by a final score of 78-72 in the second round. Keyonte George leads the Bears in scoring with 15.8 PPG while Adam Flagler has 15.5 PPG with a team-high 4.7 APG to lead the Bears in the assist department. LJ Cryer has 14.5 PPG and Jalen Bridges has 10.3 PPG with a team-high 5.8 RPG to lead the Bears on the glass and round out the group of double-digit scorers for Baylor up to this point in the season. As a team, Baylor is averaging 77.2 PPG on 44.7% shooting from the field, 74.9% from three and 37.2% from the foul line this season.
UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos Team Preview
The UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos come into the NCAA Tournament after going 27-7 in the regular season with a 15-5 mark in Big West conference play, sharing the regular season title with UC-Irvine. As the 2-seed, UCSB took out Cal Poly and UC-Riverside before knocking off Cal State Fullerton in the conference championship game. Ajay Mitchell leads the Gauchos in scoring and assists with 16.4 PPG and 5.1 APG while Miles Norris has 14.1 PPG with 6.1 RPG as the only other double-digit scorer for UCSB so far this season. Andre Kelly also has 9.5 PPG with a team-high 6.5 RPG to lead the Gauchos on the glass this season. As a team, UC-Santa Barbara is averaging 72.2 PPG on 49.3% shooting from the field, 35.3% from three and 72.8% from the foul line this season.
I’m backing UC-Santa Barbara here. Don’t get me wrong. The Bears are a solid team with a talented and experience-laden roster. However, the Bears really struggled defensively over the course of Big 12 play, and UC-Santa Barbara has a methodical approach offensively and can pick apart opposing teams and make themselves a dangerous opponent for a team who struggles to defend. My only concern for the Gauchos is that they didn’t play an overly tough schedule up to this point, but I think the Gauchos will be ready to go here and at least keep this one close enough to bag a cover here.