Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:15 PM EST.
10:00 PM EST. The mighty Gauchos of Santa Barbara are in the midst of a season long six-game winning streak after a 69-58 road win at Davis last Thursday night. UCSB is an impressive 14-3 overall and 3-0 in Big West play, but a closer look shows that the Gauchos have been chewing the fat by the fire with some of the weakest non-conference competition around after playing a selection of schools that ranks 332 of the 353 programs graded on KenPom. Scheduling cupcakes isn't the only tool of the trade second year head coach Joe Pasternack has brought to Santa Barbara, as he's convinced some talented players that were balling at Power Five schools to transfer to USCB. Pasternack was also notably named in the "pay for play" scandal that brought down Rick Pitino and damaged the reputation of Arizona coach Sean Miller, who was caught on tape discussing a $100,000 payment for Deandre Ayton. Pasternack was an associate coach for Miller in Tucson from 2011 until his move to Santa Barbara. Back to the action on the court, where the Gauchos have been idle for a week now. Fading teams coming off a longer than usual layoff is one of the many situational plays we look for, as that break can often disrupt the momentum a team has built. When you are winning and playing well, you want nothing more than to be on the court.
After making a run to The Big Dance last March for the first time since 2008, Fullerton was primed to defend its Big West championship here in 2018-19, but those lofty expectations have yet to be fulfilled, as the Titans are just 6-12 and 2-2 in conference play. However, unlike the Gauchos, Fullerton has played one of the toughest non conference schedules in the nation (eighth). Of the 18 games the Titans have played, just six have been contested on the floor at Titan Gym. Fullerton gave Arizona State a scare at home to start the season, took part in the Myrtle Beach Invitational, traveled to play tough mid-majors in St. Mary's and San Francisco and also went on the road to play Power Five schools Nebraska and Washington. Now, while the Titans did not win any of those contests, they are no doubt battle tested, which is what coach Dedrique Taylor was looking for after Fullerton got blasted in the first round of the NCAAs by Purdue 74-48. Before the season began, this was the marquee matchup in the Big West, but because of its low win total, it appears the Titans are not holding up their end of the bargain, but do not let Santa Barbara's double digit win total sway you here. The Titans are severely underpriced on their home floor and this is the perfect opportunity for them to expose their conference rivals for the frauds they are.
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#660 FULLERTON -1½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)