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It’s on to the Semifinals of the Big West Tournament and we will see at the Long Beach State 49ers rumble with the UC Irvine Anteaters at The Honda Center in Anaheim, California. This contest has a start time of 9:30 pm ET. These teams split the season series.
The 49ers are off a 68-66 win over Hawaii, while Anteaters are off a 63-44 win over Riverside.
49ers Stay Hot, Have Sights Set On the Finals
The Long Beach State 49ers have been playing very well of late and they are hoping to keep it going in this one, but it will not be easy as they are facing the top team in the league. The 49ers got here by taking out Hawaii in the quarterfinals and they have now won their last six games in a row. Still, that is eight games fewer than the 14-game winning streak that the Anteaters are currently on. LBSU checks in ranked 224th in the nation by KenPom and they have faced the 159th ranked schedule.
The Beach has not been known for their defense this year, but it played well against the Warriors, holding them to just 66 points on just 43.4% shooting overall, including 24.1% (7/29) shooting from beyond the arc. They will hope for a similar effort in this one. The offense had its struggles as they scored just 68 points on 45.3% shooting overall, including going just two of 10 from distance. This has been a good offense all year, but it will be tested by a strong Irvine defense. Leading their attack in the loss was Jordan Roberts (7.2 ppg), who had 18 points and grabbed nine boards. He also hit the game winner in the contest.
— LBSU Mens Basketball (@LBSUhoops) March 15, 2019
The 49ers enter this game ranked 112th in the nation in scoring at 75.1 ppg, while also ranking 243rd in shooting (43.2%), 161st in three-point shooting (34.7%) and 234th in free throw shooting (69.0%). On defense, they are 289th in points allowed, giving up 76.0 ppg, while also ranking 216th in defensive FG% (44.3%) and 102nd in three-point defense (33.0%).
This Defense Is Unbelievable Right Now
TYhe UC Irvine Anteaters have been the best team in the Big West all year and they win the regular season title by five games over UCSB and Cal-State Fullerton. The Anteaters enter this game off a 63-44 win over UC Riverside and they have now won their last 14c games in a row to give them a 28-5 record on the year. They will still probably need to win the Big West Tournament to get into the Big Dance. KenPom has them ranked 81st in the nation, but they have faced the 249th ranked schedule.
The Anteaters have played strong defense all year, but it has been even better of late. They just allowed 44 points to the Highlanders and have now allowed 48 points or less in four of their last six games, while allowing an average of 55.3 ppg over the six-game stretch. Those are Virginia Cavalier type numbers. They are hoping to ride their defense into the NCAA Tournament. The Highlanders shot just 31.5% from the field overall, including 26.3% from long range. The Anteaters shot just 41.4% overall, but committed just four turnovers, while forcing 10. Leading their attack was Collin Welp (8.4 ppg), who had 15.
— UCI M Basketball (@UCImbb) March 11, 2019
The Anteaters enter this game ranked 188th in the nation in scoring at 72.2 ppg, while also ranking 123rd in shooting (45.4%), 112th in three-point shooting (35.6%) and 245th in free throw shooting (68.8). On defense, they are 19th in points allowed, giving up 63.2 ppg, while also ranking 5th in defensive FG% (37.8%) and 145th in three-point defense (33.7%).
UC Irvine is:
- 4-10 ATS in their last 14 neutral site games.
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 Friday games
Long Beach State is:
- 8-1-2 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win
- 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big West
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Anteaters have been on quite a roll of late and their defense has been nasty, but the 49ers have won their last six games and they just may have enough offense to keep this one close. Long Beach State has also allowed just 57 and 66 points in their last two games and they will be facing a less than stellar offensive team. I like the Beach to keep this one close and the clincher is the fact that the Dog is 5-1 ATS the last six games in this series.
Prediction: Long Beach State +9
Full-Game Total Pick
I don’t get this number at all. I realize that LBSU has a solid offense and I expect them to score enough to keep this one close, but the Anteaters are a below averaged offensive team and their defense has allowed just 55.3 ppg over their last six games. They have allowed 48 points or less in four of those games. The 49ers have stepped up their defense of late as they have allowed just 57 and 66 points in their last two games and they are facing an Irvine team that is 293rd in the nation in pace. Too much defense in this game and we also note that the Under is 5-1 in Long Beach State’s last six vs. the Big West and 6-0 in Irvine’s last six neutral site games. Look for no more than 130 points in this one.
Prediction: Under 138.5