Photo: flickr Writer: Eric Daniel
UC Irvine isn’t expected to be the same kind of threat this year that they’ve been over the past few seasons given the number of pieces that moved on from the program this past offseason. With that said the Anteaters can still compete in the upper tier of the Big West, but they need Luke Nelson back in the lineup for that to happen. UCI has had a tough time on the offensive side of the ball this season as this group ranks 338th in the nation in scoring compared to 41st in total defense. UCI stands 5-5 overall and in their last D1 matchup the Anteaters fell to Arizona on the road by a final of 57-79. The Anteaters don’t have elite offensive options and this group has been led by Jaron Martin who’s averaging 13.4 points per contest.
Saint Mary’s played well out of character in their last outing as the Gaels were upset at home losing to UT Arlington by a final of 51-65. Saint Mary’s is deserving of a top 25 ranking given their talent and experience, but they didn’t show that the other day against the Mavericks. The Gaels have opened the year 6-1 overall with some of their better wins coming against Nevada, Dayton, and Stanford with the latter two coming on the road. Speaking of solid defenses Saint Mary’s ranks 31st in the nation in points allowed compared to 152nd in scoring average. Saint Mary’s has a cohesive veteran lineup led by Jock Landale who’s averaging 18.9 points per game.
The Gaels are coming off by far their worst outing of the young season and it’ll be interesting to see how Saint Mary’s bounces back today on their home court. UC Irvine has been having a tough time finding their offense and that should be a huge difference maker in this one as we like the Gaels to bounce back as they win and cover this large spread.
Saint Marys CA -18 -110