UC Irvine sits atop the Big West ahead of tonight's action with a 10-1 conference record. UC Santa Barbara still has enough time to take a run at the top spot in the conference at 6-5, but a win tonight is a must if the Gauchos want to give themselves a chance.
Can the Anteaters further establish themselves as kings of the Big West or can UCSB pull off the upset?
I'll dive into everything you need to know to bet on tonight's game.
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UC Irvine vs. UCSB odds, spread, and total
UC Irvine vs. UCSB betting trends
- UC Irvine is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games
- The UNDER is 4-1 in UC Irvine's last five games
- UC Irvine is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games vs. UCSB
- The UNDER is 7-0 in UC Irvines' last seven road games
- UCSB is 4-2 ATS in its last six games
- The UNDER is 11-5 in the last 16 meetings between these two teams
- The OVER is 10-2 in UCSB's last 12 home games
UC Irvine vs. UCSB how to watch
- Date: Thursday, Feb. 8
- Game time: 10 p.m. EST
- Venue: The Thunderdome
- How to watch (TV): ESPN+
- UC Irvine record: 17-6 (10-1 in Big West)
- UCSB record: 13-8 (6-5 in Big West)
UC Irvine vs. UCSB key players to watch
Justin Hohn: Something that has given UC Irvine a different twist compared to previous iterations of this time is Justin Hohn's perimeter play. He's shooting 38.5% from beyond the arc on 109 attempts. The Anteaters already dominate down low so when Hohn can give them support from three point land, they're a tough team to beat.
Ajay Mitchell: Not only is UCSB's guard leading the team in points per game (19.7) and assists per game (4.1), but he's also averaging 4.0 rebounds per game while also hitting is free throws at a rate of 84.1%. This team can go as far as he takes them.
UC Irvine vs. UCSB prediction and pick
I'm once again going to back my UC Irvine Anteaters in this Big West showdown. UCSB may be the better shooting team, but UC Irvine has a huge defensive advantage. The Anteaters are eighth in the country in opponent effective field goal percentage and even more importantly, have a great interior defense.
70.8% of UCSB's shots come from 2-point range and now the Gauchos face a UC Irvine team that's fifth in the entire country in opponent 2-point field goal percentage, keeping teams to shooting just 43.1% from down low.
UCSB also has a turnover problem, coughing up the ball on 19.4% of its possessions. I'll lay the points with the Anteaters.
Pick: UC Irvine -3.5
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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