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UC Riverside Highlanders vs UC San Diego Tritons

College Basketball Betting Preview

The UC Riverside Highlanders will try to get back on the winning track when they visit the UC San Diego Tritons on Friday night. UC Riverside (9-5) is currently 5-3 in league play, putting it in fourth place in the conference standings, two games behind first-place UC Santa Barbara.

The Highlanders had their three-game winning streak snapped in their last game, a home loss to UC Irvine, 73-67, last weekend. UC San Diego has dropped four straight games against Big West opponents, with its only win in its last five outings being a non-conference victory over Bethesda.

UC Riverside Highlanders at UC San Diego Tritons Betting Preview
. Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

One of those losses was at UC Riverside on Jan. 31, as it fell to 71-59 to the Highlanders. UC San Diego is 4-7 overall, but its conference contests don’t count towards the league standings because it is still transitioning to Division I.

If you’re doing some online betting on this contest, Cal Riverside is an 8½-point favorite, with the over/under set at 135½ in our college basketball odds.

Ready To Bounce Back

The Highlanders want to get this win, despite these two games — the teams also play on Saturday — not counting in the Big West standings, simply to get some momentum as they try to make an improbable drive to NCAA March Madness. It will take a Big West tournament victory to get Cal Riverside into the postseason, but the improved play has to start now.

Forward Arinze Chidom leads the Highlanders in scoring, averaging 13.2 points along with 5.5 rebounds per game. Center Jock Perry adds 11.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, shooting 40.4% from 3-point range.

Guard Zyon Pullin fills up the boxscore for the Highlanders, averaging 11.1 points and leading the team with 5.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He’s also dangerous from the perimeter, hitting 45.5% of his shots beyond the arc.

The strength of UC Riverside’s squad is its defense, which ranks No. 1 in the Big West, allowing just 61.1 points per game. The Highlanders allow opponents to shoot just 38% from the field, including 30.9% from 3-point range.

Trying To Get Established

The Tritons are doing their best this season, but between COVID-19 cancelations, stepping up to Division I, and going without Division II All-American guard Tyrell Roberts (19.2 points per game), who opted out prior to the season, it has not been easy to make good college basketball news.

Coach Eric Olen’s squad also is playing without returning starter Marek Sullivan and DePaul transfer John Diener, so it’s not a surprise there have been struggles. UC San Diego has won just twice in the 2021 calendar year, so it would like to get a win or two before the end of the season to give some positive vibes to the program.

Junior forward Toni Rocak leads the team in both scoring (12.4 points) and rebounding (5.2). He’s the only forward in the team’s starting lineup, and the only starter over 6-5.

Freshman guard Bryce Pope is averaging 10.8 points, while senior guard Gabe Hadley chips in with 10.4 points per game. Both Pope and Hadley are averaging at least two 3-pointers, though the Tritons are shooting just 36% from beyond the arc as a team.

Highlanders Get the Win

UC Riverside should be able to get a bounce back from their loss in this one. UC San Diego is simply struggling to get through the season and remain competitive, but it’s in a difficult situation for multiple reasons.

The Highlanders should be able to get some rhythm against the smaller Tritons and pull away for the win. When you’re doing your college basketball betting, make sure to take UC Riverside to get the victory and cover.

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