In the latest game on the college basketball schedule on Sunday, the Cal Santa Barbara Gauchos are in action against the UC Irvine Anteaters at 4:00 p.m. PST. This isn’t the biggest game of the weekend in college basketball. There really hasn’t been any games that have stood out on the weekend following Christmas. The Gonzaga Bulldogs and Virginia Cavaliers at the University of Virginia was the biggest, as the No. 1 team in the country flew cross country to the east coast for the No. 15 team in the NCAA.
Handicappers wondered if the long distance trip was going to bother the Bulldogs, but it didn’t at all. Gonzaga brought out the fireworks once again, as they piled the points on for a 98-75 win. Is there a defense in the country that can contain their offense? It sure doesn’t look like it so far. An upset over the Bulldogs is likely going to have to happen because they lost in a high-scoring shootout.
They have seemed to counter any defensive scheme put out there on the floor by opponents. It’s a long time until March, but Gonzaga are going to be tough to beat. UC Irvine are just looking to get on track and back to .500. If they can win their next two games, the Anteaters will be a .500 ball club. They head into Sunday with a record of 2-4 following a big win over San Diego, 85-53, on December 19. That’s what you don’t want to see if you’re the Anteaters after a convincing win.
A long layoff after a hot shooting performance isn’t ideal. They won that game after a horrid offensive day in a 51-48 loss against Loyola Marymount. The shooters figured it out, but now they haven’t played in a long time. The Anteaters welcome a 4-1 Cal Santa Barbara team to the Bren on Sunday afternoon. Head below for our free Cal Santa Barbara vs. UC Irvine pick on December 27, 2020.
Cal Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters NCAAM Betting Odds:
Cal Santa Barbara vs. UC Irvine Prediction:
Cal Santa Barbara is off to a productive start this season. They’re coming off an impressive 75-63 win over Pepperdine on December 19, so the layoff is shared by both teams. However, I have more confidence in Santa Barbara being able to snap right back to form and continue playing well. They’ve been the more consistent team of the two over the early stages of the 2020-21 campaign.
Their only loss this season was a 81-76 loss against Loyola Marymount on December 12. Five days earlier, the Gauchos were the winners over Loyola Marymount by a final score of 69-58. Their biggest win on the season was a 123-52 blowout over Bethesda on December 3.
Overall on the season, the Gauchos have recorded 87 points per game for 24th in the NCAA. They are shooting 54.2% from the field as the seventh best team. Competition certainly has something to do with it, but don’t expect much resistance on UC Irvine on Sunday. It isn’t like they have a capable defense to put out on the floor.
The Anteaters have allowed 66.7 points per game this season. There are definitely far worse defenses out there in the NCAA, but nothing Santa Barbara shouldn’t be able to crack. UC Irvine is 115th in the nation defensively. Conversely, I’ve been impressed with what Santa Barbara has accomplished on that side of the floor.
Note that Santa Barbara closed down a pretty good Pepperdine offense for just 63 points. Loyola Marymount is the only team they’ve faced that has put a dent in their defense thus far. Through five games, the Gauchos have conceded 61.8 points per game for 42nd in the NCAA. This doesn’t look like a blowout, but Cal Santa Barbara looks like the right side by 6-8 points. They are the highest rated team in the Big West according to KenPom numbers and should have the edge on the scoreboard at the Bren.