The UC Riverside Highlanders and the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos meet Friday in Big West Tournament college basketball action from Dollar Loan Center. UC Riverside stands at 22-11 overall on the season. The Highlanders beat UC Davis on Thursday in their tournament matchup. As for UC Santa Barbara, they’re 25-7 overall this year and took out Cal Poly in their Thursday tournament game. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
UC Riverside Highlanders
UC Riverside started out the year on a 15-9 run through their first 24 outings. The Highlanders went 6-2 over the next eight games, beating UC Davis, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, CSU Northridge, Hawaii and Cal Poly along the way.
In the Thursday tournament matchup versus UC Davis, the Highlanders were up 28-24 going into the second half. UC Riverside hit a 40-28 advantage from there and took the victory 68-52 to move on.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
Over on the UC Santa Barbara side, they managed a 20-4 start on the schedule this year. The Gauchos went 4-3 over their final seven outings, beating Long Beach State, UC San Diego, UC Davis and Hawaii. The losses came to UC Irvine, UC Riverside and CSU Fullerton.
On Thursday in the tournament matchup versus Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara was down 32-26 in the locker room. The Gauchos rallied on a 38-22 second-half run and took the victory 64-54, however. Tops on the team was Away Mitchell with 24 points and five assists.
ANDREW’S FREE PICK
I’ll probably stay with UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos have now won five straight games, scoring 78 or more points in four of those outings. The first half of Thursday’s game versus Cal Poly wasn’t their best, but to their credit UC Santa Barbara recovered and managed the comeback win. As for UC Riverside, they’re 6-1 in their last seven games and they’ve got 68 or more points in five of those six wins. These teams have met up twice before this year, with UC Riverside winning both times. First was a 65-64 road win on January 14, then a 74-63 win on February 18. This should be another close one, and I like the Gauchos to post some revenge in this third installment.