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UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara Prediction, Odds and College Basketball Betting Picks for Big West Tournament Semifinal

With each of the top four seeds advancing, Friday’s Semifinal Round of the Big West Tournament figures to be very compelling. In the second game, the 3-seed UC Riverside Highlanders will aim to get one step closer to their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth when they take on the 2-seed UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. The two sides were separated by a single game in the Big West regular-season standings, and the UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara college basketball betting picks believe that this will be a tightly-contested affair.

The following game preview provides the college basketball betting odds, trends and KenPom ratings before sharing our official UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara prediction for the Big West Tournament semifinal matchup.

UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara Prediction | College Basketball Betting Picks

Big West Tournament Semifinal
(3) UC Riverside Highlanders (22-11, 14-6 Big West) vs. (2) UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (25-7, 15-5 Big West)
Time: Approx. 11:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Dollar Loan Center — Henderson, NV
Coverage: ESPNU

UC Riverside Highlanders Preview

A few years ago, there were concerns that UC Riverside might have to shutter its basketball program due to a lack of funding. Now, the Highlanders find themselves just two wins away from advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Mike Magpayo’s team began its voyage in the Big West Tournament with an impressive 16-point win over UC Davis in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Zyon Pullin led a trio of players who scored in double figures with 19 points.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Preview

On paper, many felt that UC Santa Barbara would easily cruise past 10-seed Cal Poly in the quarterfinals. Instead, the Gauchos found themselves down by six at halftime before putting together a dominant second half to win by 10. Ajay Mitchell continued what has been a stellar season with 24 points in the win. Head coach Joe Pasternak is looking to guide UCSB to its second March Madness appearance in the last three years.

Ajay Mitchell UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara prediction Big West Tournament college basketball betting picks
Credit: Andrew Lee / Hawaii Media Source

UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara College Basketball Betting Picks and Odds

College basketball betting odds for UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara can be found at BetOnline Sportsbook.

Moneyline: UCR: (+135) | UCSB: (-155)
Point Spread: UCR: +3 (-112) | UCSB: -3 (-108)
Total: 132.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

College Basketball KenPom Ratings

The following table displays the KenPom adjusted efficiency ratings for the two teams involved in Friday’s second Big West Tournament Semifinal. In addition to overall efficiency margin, offensive, defensive and tempo ratings are included.

TeamOverall AdjEM (Rk)AdjO (Rk)AdjD (Rk)AdjT (Rk)
UC Riverside+2.86 (138)107.2 (139)104.3 (152)66.9 (204)
UC Santa Barbara+6.06 (109)110.5 (85)104.5 (157)64.7 (312)
  • Highlanders are 4-0 ATS in their last four neutral site games.
  • The UNDER is 7-3 in the Highlanders’ last ten games against teams with a winning percentage of .600 or better.
  • Gauchos are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
  • 13 of the Gauchos’ last 16 games overall have gone OVER the total.
  • Betting underdogs are 19-7-1 in the last 27 UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara head-to-head meetings.

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UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara Prediction | College Basketball Betting Picks

Beating a team three times in the same season is never easy, but this sentiment is especially true when both sides are evenly matched. UC Riverside will need to pull off this feat in order to keep its hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever alive. The Highlanders got past UC Santa Barbara by a single point on the road in mid-January and won by a wider nine-point margin at home one month late.

A common denominator that was evident in each of the two regular-season meetings between the teams was UC Santa Barbara’s struggles from three-point range. The Gauchos shot just 2-15 from beyond the arc in the home loss. The 3-12 showing in the rematch in Riverside certainly wasn’t much better. UC Riverside also won the rebounding battle in both games.

Considering that UCSB ranks 85th in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom, it seems quite likely that the Gauchos will put forth a better shooting display in this Big West Tournament semifinal. The Gauchos also play at a very slow pace, something that will presumably work in their favor as they try to slow down the Highlanders’ talented backcourt duo of Zyon Pullin and Flynn Cameron.

Of course, UC Santa Barbara has an uber-talented scorer of its own in Ajay Mitchell who is more than capable of putting the team on his back. That said, it will be easier said than done for forwards Miles Norris and Andre Kelly to fend off the team rebounding efforts of UC Riverside. Given the low game total and the greater degree of balanced production on the Highlanders’ roster, taking the points seems like the most appealing option.

UC RIVERSIDE COVERS will be our official college basketball betting UC Riverside vs UC Santa Barbara prediction for the Big West Tournament Semifinal Round matchup.

For what it’s worth, the ESPN Matchup Predictor gives UC Santa Barbara a 53.2% chance to win this game outright.

Bet: UC Riverside +3 (-112 at BetOnline Sportsbook)

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