NCAA Basketball Pick: UC Santa Barbara +8 over UC Irvine

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, February 2, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos are 3-6 in Big West play, but five of those six losses were by seven points or less and one of the wins came vs. these UC Irvine Anteaters, so take the points.

The tough-luck underdog should be able to stay close again on Saturday night when the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (7-13, 2-9 away) pay a visit to the UC Irvine Anteaters (11-11, 7-1 home) at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, CA at 10:00 ET.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has UC Santa Barbara as a nice underdog for this contest with the current line at +8 with odds of -107.

Santa Barbara is a hard lack 3-6 in Big West Conference play as five of those six losses were by seven points or less, with only Pacific being able to handle the Gauchos with relative ease inside the conference.

The last game for UCSB was par for the course as it went on the road to visit the conference leading Long Beach State 49ers, who are now 8-1 vs. Big West opponents, and nearly pulled the road upset before falling just short 57-55 to easily cover the +10½-point spread.

The Gauchos were toughened by a very tough non-conference schedule before Big West play began, a slate which ranked second in the entire country in non-conference SOS, but unfortunately that has not gotten them over the hump in regards to closing out winnable games. Then again they are always right there, which automatically makes them dangerous as decided underdogs like they are tonight.

Given tonight’s point spread, all of those close conference losses would have UCSB at 8-1 ATS vs. tonight’s line, and keep in mind that one of its three conference wins came vs. the same Irvine team it is facing tonight in a contest where the Gauchos overcame a 13-point deficit.

UC Irvine did not face the same caliber of teams that Santa Barbara faced out of conference, so it is a bit disturbing that the Anteaters rank just 180th in offensive efficiency and 199th in effective field goal percentage. Irvine struggles from basically ever spot on the floor, ranking 214th in two-point shooting at 46.4 percent and 186th in three-point shooting at 33.2 percent.

Those numbers do not exactly exude confidence in a decided favorite like this, and to make matters worse for the Anteaters, they are not a good foul shooting team either at 64.6 percent, which ranks 295th in the land. That makes it harder to extend leads and salt away games late.

All things considered, UC Santa Barbara seems like an overlay getting this may points, so take the points on Saturday night.

NCAA Basketball Pick: UC Santa Barbara +8 (-107)

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