The Aztecs and Gauchos have both reeled off two straight covers, while combining to go 10-1 SU in their first 11 games.  Saturday night’s college hoops slate has the hot squads squaring off, with a tight battle expected on the west coast.

Sportsbooks opened the NCAA basketball odds with UC-Santa Barbara as a three-point home favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ as low as 129.  Early wagers on the Gauchos and ‘over’ drove the numbers north to 4 ½ and 134, respectively. 


Gauchos pull away against Portland 

Chase TapleyUC-Santa Barbara stayed unbeaten with a fourth straight win in Tuesday’s 83-69 triumph as a 13 ½-point home favorite against the Portland Pilots.  The Gauchos rallied from a 35-31 halftime deficit, while holding Portland to 38.6 percent field shooting. 

Gauchos guard Orlando Johnson notched his second straight double-double, with team-highs of 26 points and 12 rebounds.  The senior shot 9-of-21 from the field, while sinking 6-of-9 free throws. 

UC-Santa Barbara’s Jaime Serna and Nate Garth united for 19 points and 12 boards.  Serna banked a perfect 5-of-5 field buckets, while Garth finished with six of his squad’s 18 assists. 

The contest’s combined 152 points soared above the ‘total’ of 136, bringing the ‘over’ to 2-0 in the Gauchos first pair of ‘board’ games.  UC-Santa Barbara edged out Portland in rebounds, 44-25, while draining 7-of-20 from three-point land. 

Aztecs upset Arizona on the road 

San Diego State logged a third straight victory in Wednesday’s 61-57 win as a six-point road dog against the Arizona Wildcats.  The Aztecs held Arizona to 33.3 percent field shooting, including a meager 5-of-26 from beyond the arc. 

Aztecs guard Chase Tapley piled in a team-high 17 points, shooting 7-of-12 from the field.  Tapley’s mates Tim Shelton and Garrett Green united for 13 of their squad’s 33 rebounds, while combining for four assists. 

San Diego State’s James Rahon notched 13 points, while held without an assist for the first time in three games.  The junior struggled from the foul line, sinking just 4-of-9. 

The affair’s combined 118 points plunged below the ‘total’ of 134, making the ‘under’ 2-1 in the Aztecs’ last three games.  San Diego State mustered three steals, while connecting on 8-of-12 three-point buckets. 

Back the Aztecs in another tight battle 

This handicapper is taking the points with San Diego State in Saturday’s tip, scheduled for 10 p.m. (ET).  UC-Santa Barbara has not faced this tough of a test during its first four games, and should not be able to maintain their scoring stretch of 82 PPG here. 

San Diego State has held foes to 62.1 PPG in its first seven matchups, while falling just one point shy of going 2-0 ATS in its two road games.  The Aztecs have an 8-1-1 mark in the spread in their last 10 games as road dogs of 6 ½ points or less, dating back to last season. 

UC-Santa Barbara has been overvalued against the Mountain West Conference, going 1-4 ATS in its last five spots against that group of foes.  The Gauchos have gone 0-5 ATS in their last five ‘board’ meetings against San Diego State, dating back to 2004. 

San Diego State’s Chase Tapley has notched 16.6 PPG and 3.1 SPG, ranking him third and second in the MWC, respectively.  Tapley hit 4-of-6 from three-point land in last December’s 90-64 win for the Aztecs against the Gauchos. 

Tapley’s mates Xavier Thames and Garrett Green rave ranked fourth in the conference for assists (4.9 APG) and rebounds (6.9 RPG).  Look for this duo and the rest of the Aztecs’ roster to keep this matchup tight, with 4 ½ points coming in handy for a cashed ticket.