NCAA Basketball Picks: Bet UC Irvine to Keep it Close vs. Oregon

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 5:38 PM GMT

After losing 2 out of their last 3 games and falling out of the AP Top 25, the Oregon Ducks must face a very underrated UC Irvine Anteaters. Check our free NCAA basketball pick here.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: UC Irvine +8 
Best Line Offered: at 5 Dimes

Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 11:00 p.m. EST at the Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon. At 5Dimes, the Ducks are an 8.5 point betting favorite with a total of 139 on the NCAA basketball odds.

On it's resume, the Oregon Ducks possess a victory over a top 25 team in the Baylor Bears earlier in the season, but injuries happen and now the Ducks need to get back on track. This is not a deep team with 5 players averaging 11.9 or more while logging a ton of minutes.

 

Dillon Brooks
The Ducks will look for leadership from their leading scorer, sophomore forward, Dillon Brooks. Brooks is coming off of a monster game in a 74-72 loss to Boise State in which he played the entire game.

For the game, Brooks poured in 26 points on 5 of 10 shooting from 3 point land and also hounding the Broncos on the defensive end. Look for Brooks, who averages 15.3 points and 7 rebounds per game, to have a big game as the Anteaters are more of a test as perceived.

Due to an early season injury to super-freshman, Tyler Dorsey, the Ducks will need the offense and senior Dwayne Benjamin is capable of putting up a big game.

Although inconsistent at times, Benjamin has had 2 efforts of 20 points or more in his last 5 games and more importantly is capable of knocking down the 3-ball.

For the season, Benjamin is averaging 41.9% from 3-point range to go along with 47.5% from the field. I can't predict if he'll be a key figure in this game, but Benjamin has the ability to hit the timely 3-ball and according to the point spread, this game could be closer than people anticipated.

 

A Pesky Team
The Anteaters can be put into the category of a pesky team; a team that can beat the opposition if a team such as Oregon is having a rough night and not playing up to their capabilities. Other than that, this is not a team, despite their solid record, that's going to overwhelm their opponent.

 

The Big Anteater
I must laugh as Oregon will need to come up with an answer for Senegal born, 7 foot 6, 300 pound center, Mamadou Ndiaye. Thus far this season, Ndiaye has carried the load for the Anteaters, leading the team with 12 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game.

In the last 3 games, Ndiaye's minutes have went up as he's averaging 16 points 13 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game. He's a skilled offensive player that creates havoc on the defensive end of the court while clogging up the paint. This player is a definite NBA prospect due to his size and his skill. Oregon won't have an answer for Ndiaye as the minutes keep coming and his confidence is building..

Don't bet the house as sometimes a handicapper get's a gut feeling. Everything tells us that Oregon is the obvious NCAA basketball pick, but I'm going to side with UC-Irvine and the big man, Mamadou Ndiaye.