Gaels To Bounce Back Big In 20+ Point Blowout

Saint Mary's Gaels player in action

Sunday, December 11, 2016 4:08 PM GMT

The Cal-Irvine Anteaters of the Big West travel to the north to Moraga, where they will face the St. Mary Gaels at the McKeon Pavilion. Tip time is set for 10:00 pm ET and we have the betting value here!

UC Irvine Anteaters

In a year where the Big West has slipped to the No. 26th ranked conference in America, with no team in the Top 150, the Cal-Irvine Anteaters may be the best the loop has to offer. They are coached by 7th-year mentor Russell Turner, who has led the Anteaters to 4 consecutive seasons in which they have won 21 or more games. Last year, Irvine went 28-10 SU with a 13-3 SU league mark. Losing in the Big West Tourney, they settled for a CIT invite, where they lost in the Championship game.

The bad news is that, although they may again be the top team in the loop, that's not saying much! Just one starter returns from last year's team. Gone is 7'6” Mamadou N'Diaye, who dominated the league on the interior and got a shot with Golden St. in the summer league. Also missing are a pair of double-digit scorers, Young and Best. All-league guard, Luke Nelson is the one returning starter.

In addition, Turner lost a couple of valued assistants, who took higher profile jobs back East. In short, this is a young team with limited experience. Results have been commensurate with those expectations. Wins have come against the weak links on their schedule, S. Dakota St. (twice), Pacific and Santa Clara. But, there have been a 16-point home loss to Utah St., a 17-point loss as double-digit favorite to Milwaukee and most recently, a 22-point defeat at Arizona. Today, they are facing St. Mary's at the wrong time.

Saint Mary's Gaels

The Gaels were cruising along at 6-0 SU with a statistical profile that was the envy of all. On offense they were shooting 50% from the field, 38% from the arc and 79% from the stripe. They had a +6 net rebound margin and 19/10 A/TO ratio. Everything was clicking for the Gaels under 16thyear HC Randy Bennett, whose annual forays to Australia have again produced a mother lode of talent from Down Under!

Such was the case, as they hosted a respected but inferior Texas-Arlington team on Thursday night. The Mavs may be the class of the Sun Belt, but they are not in the same class as the Gaels. Thursday was the exception, as the Mavs (a legendary great road team) went into McKeon Pavilion and outshot St. Mary's 49% to 31%. The Mavs were +4 on the boards and harassed the Gaels into an 11/16 A/TO ratio. Led by Kevin Hervey, Texas-Arlington beat a Top 25 team for the first time in program history. After the game, St. Mary's HC Bennett had a succinct analysis of the contest. “I thought we got outplayed. Pretty simple! I thought they beat us in every phase.”

UC Irvine Anteaters vs Saint Mary's Gaels

Look for that defeat to inspire St. Mary's to a bounce back effort. Despite the loss, the Gaels (under Bennett) are 117-75 ATS in non-con action, including 61-35 ATS in December. They are also 17-8 ATS recently as a favorite and 36-19 ATS when they have allowed 65 or fewer points in 3 consecutive games. Gaels bounce back big in 20+ point blowout! I invite you to put the odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball pick on St. Mary's today.

Free NCAAB Pick: St. Mary's -18.5

Best Line Offered: at JustBet

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