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Cal Riverside Highlanders vs. UC Irvine Anteaters
NCAAB: Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 10:30 PM EST
Cal Riverside had won three in a row playing solid defense before losing their last game where they gave up 80 points. They are 2-1 in Big West play and are on the road to face a UC Irvine team that is the only unbeaten one in conference play. UCR is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the nation but they are 12-7 because of their solid defense, which ranks 17th in the nation only giving up an average of 60.4 ppg. On the season the Highlanders are 4-5 on the road.
UC Irvine has won two in a row, both in conference, and three of their last four games. All of the three wins in their last four games were by double digits. The Anteaters have a balanced team and in their last two games, they have held their opponents to 60 and 61 points respectively. UCI is 7-2 at home this season.
Last season Irvine was all three games facing UCR including beating them in the Big West tournament.
Defensive LetdownAfter winning three in a row where Cal Riverside held their opponents to an average of 56.3 ppg they had a defensive letdown in their last game losing to Cal State Northridge 80-68 in their last game. In that game, they gave up 40 points in each half and while they had a pretty good shooting game (46.4%) they allowed the Matadors to shoot 52.7% from the floor.
Arinze Chidom (11.3 ppg) is the only player for the Highlanders that are averaging in double figures, has only scored 14 points in his last two games, and in the loss to CSUN only had five points on 16.7% shooting. 7’1” C Callum McRae (9.3 ppg 6.3 rpg) is the second leading scorer and leading rebounder for the team and while he had 14 points in the loss to CSUN he had not scored in double figures in nine straight games and in his last three games does not have more than three rebounds. 6’10” FW Angus McWilliam (7.1 ppg 4.4 rpg) was the high scorer in the CSUN game with 15 points and he has scored in double digits in three of his last four games.
Strong Conference StartAfter beating Hawaii 74-60 in their Big West opener UC Irvine moved to 2-0 in conference play in their last game in a 74-61 win over Cal State Fullerton. The Anteaters outscored the Titans by 14 points in the first half and while they did not shoot the ball well with an FG of 42.4% they held CSF to a FG% of only 38.5%. With the win UCI head coach, Russell Turner became the winningest coach in program history.
Trent checked in with coach as well to get his thoughts on becoming the winningest head coach in program history⬇️ pic.twitter.com/aE1xiM6Q02— UCI Men's Basketball (@UCImbb) January 16, 2020
Collin Welp (14.7 6.8 rpg) leads three Anteaters averaging in double figures on the season, led the team with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win over CSF, and in his last four games has averaged 18 ppg and 8.3 rpg. Brad Greene leads the team averaging 6.8 rpg and after going for 13 points and 21 rebounds in the win over Hawaii he went scoreless and only had three rebounds in 11 minutes in the win over CSF. Eyassu Worku (12.8 ppg) also had 20 points in the win over Fullerton and he has scored at least 20 points in two of his last three games.
According to the betting trends from Covers.com, the UC Irvine Anteaters are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
- 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 Saturday games
- 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 home games
According to the betting trends from Covers.com, the Cal Riverside Highlanders:
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
UCI has played very similar games in their last two where they won each game by double digits. They did not have a great shooting game in their last one but had two players that each had 20 points. while UCR has a couple of trees inside neither is a great rebounder or scorer. However, they will play good defense in the paint in this game, which will be a low-scoring affair. The Anteaters have much more balance in the scoring department, and they are also a solid defensive team. The favorite is 16-5 ATS in the last 21 games between these conference rivals and that trend will continue, as Irvine will get the win and cover and move to 3-0 in Big West play.
Prediction: UC Irvine
Full-Game Total Pick
The Anteaters have scored 74 points in each of their last two games, but they will not get to that total in this game. UCR did not play their usual solid defense in their last game but they will be solid on the defensive end of the court in this conference contest. The Highlanders have an under record of 16-6 in their last 22 games and while UCI has more Over trends the Under is still the pick in this game. The Highlanders will slow the pace and in a defensive battle, the Under is definitely the way to go in this game.