NCAA Basketball Picks UC Santa Barbara vs. Utah St.

Jeff Grant

Friday, December 20, 2013 3:58 PM GMT

The UCSB Gauchos will be out to avenge an earlier loss against the Utah State Aggies this season, as the two teams meet up in the Basketball Travelers Classic Friday night.

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this non-conference matchup at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, with the opening tip scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET.

Be sure to check out our NCAA Basketball Picks: Friday's Picks of the Day

Fortunate outcome

UCSB completed a 6-0 game-ending rally to pick up a three-point victory over the Troy Trojans as 13.5-point neutral-site favorites Thursday night, while going UNDER the betting total of 133.

The Gauchos entered the affair ranking eighth nationally in knocking down 51.4 percent of their shots from the floor, but were held to 22 of 48 shooting last night. 

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS in tournament games, with the OVER going 4-2 in that situation. 

Expected result 

Utah State has won 47 of 48 tournament games when serving as a host, including a 68-52 victory over Western Illinois as 13.5-point favorites last night, while going UNDER the betting total for the sixth consecutive time when given the opportunity. 

The Aggies have compiled a dominating 75-3 SU record at home in the month of December under longtime head coach Stew Morrill. 

Series history 

College basketball handicappers need to take a long look at the road underdog in this spot, considering the Gauchos will be out to avenge a 71-64 home loss to the Aggies on Nov. 16. 

UCSB played that game without the services of leading scorer Alan Williams, who entered Thursday as the fourth-leading scorer in college basketball at 24.2 points a contest. 

It’s important to point out that Utah State owns a 40-23 SU advantage in this series, with the OVER going 4-1 in the last five meetings at this venue.

Major suspension 

The Aggies will play their second game without senior center Jarred Shaw, who was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules Monday. 

He was the team’s leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker—earning second-team all-conference honors a season ago.

[gameodds]14/252648/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction  

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Gauchos with their NCAA basketball picks, as the road team has covered the number in seven of the last eight meetings in this series. 

College Basketball Pick:  UCSB Gauchos +3