UC Irvine vs San Diego State College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Keshad Johnson
- San Diego State returns home from the Maui Invitational to take on UC Irvine on Tuesday night.
- This could be a tougher than expected matchup for the Aztecs, as the Anteaters are one of the best teams in the Big West and recently won a road game at Oregon.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
UC Irvine vs. San Diego State Odds
The San Diego State Aztecs return home after a somewhat disappointing outing in the Maui Invitational.
San Diego State handled Ohio State in the first round, winning by 11, but gave up the most points they have all allowed all season in an 87-70 loss to Arizona. Worst of all, the Aztecs lost to Arkansas in overtime where they led by four with 17 seconds left in the game.
There's no time to hang their heads as the Aztecs are now faced with one of the hottest teams in the country in the UC Irvine Anteaters.
The Anteaters have jumped out to 6-1 on the season, have the best record of any team in the Big West, and took down Oregon by 13 on the road.
This will be anything but easing back into the schedule for the Aztecs. Can they end the Anteaters hype train and their losing streak at the same time?
You may be quick to discredit this UC Irvine team; two of their wins have come against non-D1 programs, Oregon is their only win ranked inside the top 100, and they lost to Pepperdine. I can't express to you how bad of an idea that is.
The Anteaters are led by two elite scorers in DJ Davis and Dawson Baker, both of whom rank in the 86th percentile or better when it comes to points per game. Not to mention they are two of the five players on this Anteaters team shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc.
Complementing their elite scoring is Bent Leuchten, one of the best rebounders in the country so far. Leuchten is averaging 7.7 rebounds per game, and more importantly 2.8 offensive rebounds per game. He has been a major contributor to the Anteaters' ability to rack up 15.1 second chance points per game.
UC Irvine isn't just offense either. It ranks 10th in the nation in effective field goal percentage on defense; holding teams to just 40.7%. The Anteaters might not have the ability to force turnovers like the Aztecs, but they do hold teams to just 24.3% from deep and 43.3% on 2-point shots.
Leuchten is a driving force, but the team as a whole has been crashing the boards, ranked in the 99th percentile in defensive rebounding percentage.
They've also got depth on the bench. Their 35.6 points per game off the bench rank in the 96th percentile nationally.
So what's the Anteaters' weakness? They rely almost too heavily on the three, with 36.4% of their scoring coming from shots beyond the arc. And they struggle with fouls, averaging 19.1 fouls per game. Not to mention when they draw fouls themselves they struggle at the line, hitting just 66.9% from the charity stripe.
I think most of us are pretty familiar with the Aztecs at this point in the season. So let's focus on what they can do to win this game, and what could potentially cost them this game.
First and foremost, their biggest advantage against the Anteaters will be drawing fouls. Few teams in the country are better than San Diego State when it comes to drawing fouls at 21.2 times per game so far this season.
And while their 3-point defense has been solid so far this season, they can't afford to let up on that. San Diego State allowed Arizona to hit 45% from beyond the arc. Allowing UC Irvine to hit at a similar rate will likely produce a similar result.
When it comes to their weaknesses it couldn't be more clear: rebounding. San Diego State has faced some solid rebounding teams in Arizona and Ohio State, but neither have been as good as this Anteaters team.
If UC Irvine can control the glass they'll control the game.
UC Irvine vs. San Diego State Betting Pick
San Diego State's biggest advantage over the Anteaters is their ability to draw fouls. Unfortunately for the Aztecs, this is a team with serious depth.
If any of UC Irvine's starters should get into foul trouble there's talent all the way down the bench, almost all of which has in game experience so far this season. Eleven different players average 10 minutes or more for the Anteaters.
And maybe most important of all what has me backing this Anteaters team is the spread. I expected UC Irvine to be somewhere between a 7-9 point underdog, maybe even 10 at the very most.
UC Irvine opened as a +12.5 underdog to the Aztecs, I was able to grab them at +12 and even just a few hours since opening the line is already hitting +11 at some shops.
Back the Anteaters at +8 or better.
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