Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#789 Rice 148 vs.
#790 UCSB -9
Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 5:00pm EST
Written by Scott Reichel

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#789 Rice University
#790 University of California Santa Barbara
3-1
1-1
15-14-1
15-14
14-16
12-15-2
73
73
77
66

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This Saturday, there is an NCAAB matchup between the Rice Owls and the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. This will be the first meeting between these teams this season and it will take place at The Thunderdome.

Rice Looks To Perform Better Away From Home

The Rice Owls have looked pretty good so far this season through four games. The Owls have won three of their first four games of the season including a six-point win against Northwestern State on the road in their last game. In that game, Rice's offense was solid as it scored 80 points while shooting 40.0% from the three-point line. However, it still trailed by eight points entering halftime and it was also embarrassed in the first road game of the season as it lost to Arkansas by 48 points. Now, Rice will look for a statement win on the road as it will need to play a lot better away from home moving forward if Rice plans on actually being competitive during conference play.

Leading the Owls offensively is sophomore guard Trey Murphy III who has been pretty good so far this season. He is averaging a team-high 14.5 points per game along with 5.5 rebounds. In addition, he has also been amazing defensively as he is averaging 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. Murphy III has the ability to impact a game in a variety of ways and he will look to showcase his skills in this one.

Rice's most underrated player is sophomore guard Payton Moore who has been decent this season. He is averaging 6.0 points per game along with 2.3 rebounds. In addition, he is also shooting a team-high 37.5% from the three-point line as he has become a marksman on this team. As a team, Rice is shooting just 29.5% from downtown so Moore looks like its only real threat to stretch the floor.

UCSB Looks To Get Back Over .500

The UCSB Gauchos have looked okay so far this season through two games. The Gauchos split those first two games including a 16 point loss to UCLA on the road in their last game. In that game, UCSB's offense was terrible as it only scored 61 points while shooting 31.8% from the three-point line. However, UCSB is still undefeated at home this season as it was able to beat Jackson State by 21 points in the season opener. Now, UCSB has a .500 record but it gets to return home to face a decent Rice team. If UCSB plans on getting back over .500, its offense will need to play a lot better on Saturday with all the home fans providing support.

Leading the Gauchos offensively is senior guard Max Heidegger who has been amazing so far this season. He is averaging a team-high 20.0 points per game along with 3.5 assists. In addition, he has also been extremely efficient from the floor as he is shooting an impressive 60.9% from the floor and 100.0% from the free throw line. Heidegger has the ability to lead his team to a victory almost single-handedly and he will look to help his team get another home victory in this game.

UCSB's most underrated player is junior guardJaQuori McLaughlin who has been solid so far this season. He is averaging 11.0 points per game along with 3.0 assists on an efficient 53.3% shooting from the floor. McLaughlin has the potential to be the key to Santa Barbara's NCAA Tournament hopes as he provides experience with elite shooting. Look for him to continue making an impact in this game.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Even though Rice has a better record entering this game, UCSB has played a tougher schedule so I think that the Gauchos are the much better team in this matchup. Rice needed a second-half comeback to beat a terrible Northwestern State team on the road so I think that it will struggle even more against a quality opponent away from home on Saturday. Plus, UCSB has a very underrated home-court advantage and I expect the Gauchos to receive a serious spark from the fans following a road loss to UCLA in its last game. Give me the home team.

Prediction: UCSB

Full-Game Total Pick

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Both teams are fully capable of scoring points when given the opportunity and I think that this game will be played at a relatively fast pace. Rice just gave up 74 points to Northwestern State so UCSB can easily score 80 points against it at home. At the same time, Rice also likes to play a somewhat uptempo style of offense so I can see both of these teams getting into the 70s due to pace alone. As a result, I think this total is too low as both teams will look to get out in transition in order to get easy looks. Give me the over.

Prediction: Over

Half-Time Side Pick

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Rice came out extremely flat against Northwestern State on the road in its last game and even trailed by eight points at the half which is a bad omen. I expect UCSB to get out to a fast start as Rice will struggle defensively to contain all of UCSB's weapons offensively. Plus, UCSB is an underrated defense team so it should be able to stifle a Rice team that is only shooting 39.1% from the floor this season. I expect this game to be close for the first ten minutes but I think UCSB will do enough in the final ten minutes to cover this number

Prediction: UCSB 1H
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Written By Scott Reichel

Scott Reichel is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with an insane passion for sports. His commitment to endlessly researching statistics helps separate him from other handicappers with regard to MLB, NBA, NCAAB, NCAAF, NHL and NFL coverage. Scott also shares his passion for sports on StatSalt's YouTube page where he does a daily show called Scott's Selections.