NCAA Basketball High/Low Picks For Wednesday, January 25

chattanooga basketball

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 6:49 PM GMT

Your highest opening spread on the NCAA basketball board Wednesday at SBR Forum's top sportsbooks features Chattanooga over VMI, while the lowest number is UC Santa Barbara against visiting Cal State Northridge. Here are my picks.

VMI At Chattanooga (-22.5)

Certainly the first Virginia Military Institute-Chattanooga preview I've ever written. The host Mocs are the defending conference tournament champions as they reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. Chattanooga was a No. 12 seed and lost 99-74 to No. 5 Indiana in the Big Dance. This year, the Mocs are 15-4 overall and 6-1 in the Southern Conference, a half-game behind leader UNC Greensboro. Chattanooga has a win at Tennessee this season, nearly won at Vanderbilt but was beaten by 40 at North Carolina. It enters on a five-game winning streak after beating Samford 82-78 on Saturday. The Mocs were up as many as 18 before the visitors made it interesting. Tre' McLean had 23 points and nine rebounds to lead Chattanooga, which has now won 19 of its past 20 SoCon home games.

VMI is the worst team in the SoCon at 4-14 overall and 1-6 in conference. The Keydets have beaten the likes of Southern Virginia, Charleston Southern, Frostburg State and Western Carolina. I've only heard of two of those schools. VMI is off an 89-72 defeat at Furman on Saturday. Senior guard Julian Eleby broke out of a shooting slump and scored 21 points, including 6-for-11 from long range in the loss. VMI shot just 36 percent in the first half and trailed by 23 at the break. VMI is not a good defensive team, either, allowing 79.1 ppg. These schools split last year, with Chattanooga winning by 26 at home.

The home team is 5-0 ATS on NCAA basketball picks in the past five meetings.

NCAAB Free Pick: Chattanooga -22.5

Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Cal State Northridge At UC Santa Barbara (-1)

These schools are in the Big West Conference. Cal State Northridge is middle of the pack at 3-3 in the conference but just 7-12 overall. The Matadors did play a pretty good non-conference schedule, losing to the likes of UCLA, Stanford, Texas A&M, New Mexico, St. John's and Boise State. Cal State Northridge enters on a three-game losing streak after a 105-73 defeat to UC Irvine on Saturday. The Matadors shot a season-low 30.3 percent from the field and just 28.1 percent in the first half. UC Irvine shot 53.6 percent from the field and 57.1 percent (12-for-21) from beyond the 3-point arc. The Anteaters also outrebounded the Matadors  54-31. Cal State Northridge leading scorer Kendall Smith was held to 13 points on 2-for-13 shooting. This is one of the country's worst defensive teams in allowing 83.6 ppg.

UC Santa Barbara is 1-4 in the conference and has the worst overall record of any Big West team at 3-14. The Gauchos' coach is Bob Williams. He is in his 19th season at the school and is the longest-tenured Division I men’s basketball coach west of the Mississippi River. The school currently has three of its better players academically ineligible. That includes newcomer Jalen Canty, who was California’s junior college player of the year last season. One of the team's three wins is over Division II Sonoma State. UCSB is off a 65-55 loss at UC Riverside on Saturday. Gabe Vincent scored 18 points and became the 28th player in program history to hit the 1,000-point mark in the loss. The Gauchos couldn't overcome a second half stretch that saw them miss 15 out of 16 field goal attempts. The team was 5-for-30 from long range overall. UCSB is among the nation's worst offensive teams in scoring just 63.9 ppg.

The Matadors have covered eight of their past nine trips to UC Santa Barbara on NCAA basketball odds.

NCAAB Free Pick: Cal State Northridge +1

Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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