The Cal Santa Barbara Gauchos try to hang onto first place in the Big West Conference when they host the CS Bakersfield Roadrunners on Friday night. The Gauchos (14-3) sit atop the league standings with an 8-2 record, one game ahead of both UC Irvine (7-3) and CS Bakersfield (8-4). If you’re going to do some online betting for this contest, Cal Santa Barbara is a 7½-point favorite, with the over/under set at 130½ in our online sportsbook.
Cal Santa Barbara is on a 10-game win streak, with its last loss coming on Dec. 28 at UC Irvine. The Gauchos have had two of their last three games go to overtime, including an 81-74 win at Hawaii last weekend.
The Roadrunners have won three straight and four of their last five, though their last two victories came against UC San Diego, so they didn’t count in the Big West standings.
Time To Move
If CS Bakersfield wants to make some college basketball news and win a Big West title, now is the time to step up and knock off the leaders. The Roadrunners could be atop the standings by weekend’s end if they can sweep Friday’s game and Saturday’s as well.
To do that, the defense is going to have to be at its best. UC Santa Barbara ranks second in the Big West, averaging 76.4 points per game. CS Bakersfield allowed just 63.1 points per game, so something is going to have to give.
Offensively, the Roadrunners are very balanced, with senior swingman Taze Moore leading the way with 11.4 points per game. Moore is the team’s only double-figure scorer, but he’s one of six players averaging at least seven points a game.
Senior swingman Justin Edler-Davis is averaging 9.7 points per game, hitting a team-high 32 3-pointers, while senior swingman Justin McCall contributes 9.0 points per game.
Continuing To Win
Joe Pasternack‘s squad looks ready for NCAA March Madness right now, going for an 11th straight victory to get it closer to a Big West regular-season title. The Gauchos are undefeated at home this season, winning all seven games, and they’ll try to keep that perfect record intact against the Roadrunners.
Senior guard JaQuori McLaughlin ranks third in the Big West scoring race, averaging 16.9 points while hitting 43.8% from 3-point range. McLaughlin is also dishing out 5.3 assists per contest to lead the Gauchos.
Sophomore guard Ajare Sanni is second on the team, averaging 12.5 points off the bench, but he’ll be looking for a bit of a bounce-back after totaling just 10 points in the two games at Hawaii last weekend. Sanni leads the team with 25 3-pointers.
Junior forward Amadou Sow has upped his game during the winning streak, averaging 12.5 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 59.5% from the field. On the season, Sow is averaging 11.4 points and 8.4 rebounds, providing some solid interior player for the Gauchos.
Roadrunners Can’t Keep Up
While CS Bakersfield has been playing well and is right up among the leaders in the conference, it’s hard to see it knocking off the red-hot Gauchos. Cal Santa Barbara is just too good at home and has been tested lately, which will likely have it focused on the task at hand.
Roadrunners vs Gauchos Betting Pick
Look for a high-scoring affair, with the Gauchos pulling away in the second half to cover the spread. When making your college basketball picks, go with Cal Santa Barbara in this one.