UC-Irvine Anteaters travel to UCLA Bruins in Crosstown Clash

UC-Irvine Anteaters at UCLA Bruins
Los Angeles Sports Arena – Los Angeles, California
Tuesday, December 20, 2011, 10:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Prime Ticket
Opening Line: UCLA -15 1/2
Current Line: UCLA -16
Opening Total: 136 1/2
Current Total: 133 1/2
Opening Money Line: UCLA -1300 / UCI +850
Current Money Line: UCLA -2000 / UCI +1200

UCLA is a 16 point favorite against UC Irvine Tuesday night in the LA Sports Arena.

To say this has been a disappointing season for 5-5 UCLA would be a massive understatement. The Bruins started off the season ranked in the pre-season top 25. However star forward Reeves Nelson was first suspended and then later dismissed from the team for violating team rules by coach Ben Howland. He played in only 6 games before the dismissal. The Bruins started off the season with 2 home losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee St. The Bruins also have losses to Kansas and Michigan in the Maui Invitational, plus a home loss to Texas. The Bruins have wins over Pepperdine and Penn.

UCLA takes on the 2-8 UC-Irvine Anteaters Tuesday night. The Anteaters are coached by Russell Turner. UCI has wins over San Diego and Vanguard. The Anteaters have losses to Cal, Weber St, San Jose St, Southern Miss, Central Michigan and Alaska-Anchorage in the Great Alaska Shootout, Wyoming, and LSU. UCLA leads the series 6-2 against UCI including 74-73 last year at Pauley Pavilion. Pauley is being renovated this year and UCLA will play home games at the LA Sports Arena.

UC Irvine is being outscored 72-66 this season. The Anteaters shoot 39.2% from the field, including 34.5% from 3 point range. UCI makes 63.5% of their free throws. The Anteaters average 40.1 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of +0.2. UCI averages 14.2 assists, 16.6 turnovers, 5.5 steals, and 3.2 blocks a game. Anteater opponents shoot 38.8% from the field including 36.9% from 3 point range. The Anteaters force 14.2 turnovers a game.

UCI guard Daman Starring averages 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals a game to lead the team. He leads the team in scoring & steals and also makes 45.5% of 3 pointers. Michael Wilder averages 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1 steal a game. Wilder shoots 41.5% from 3 point range. Chris McNeely averages 9.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists a game. Will Davis II averages 9 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks a game to lead the team in both categories. Aaron Wright averages 6.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3 assists a game to lead the team.

UCLA is outscoring opponents 68-63 this season. The Bruins are shooting 43.6% from the field, including 33.3% from 3 point range. UCLA makes 65.4% of their free throws. The Bruins average 34.6 rebounds, and have a rebounding margin of +1. UCLA averages 13.5 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 5.2 blocks a game. Bruin opponents are shooting 43.3% from the field including 39% from 3 point range. UCLA forces 14.1 turnovers a game.

UCLA guard Lazeric Jones averages 13.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.4 steals a game. He leads the Bruins in points, assists, and steals. Jones shoots 37.8% from 3 point range. Forward Travis Wear averages 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 1.3 blocks a game. He is probable with a foot injury against UCI. Jerime Anderson averages 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. Joshua Smith averages 9.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks a game to lead the team. Tyler Lamb averages 8.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3 assists a game. David Wear leads the team in rebounding with 5.7 a game and also scores 8 points a game. Guard De’End Parker is out indefinitely with a knee injury. He ahs only played in two games because of the injury.

UCLA is 3-6 against the spread and the total is also 3-6 this season. UCI is 6-1-1 ATS and the total is 4-4 this season. UCI has covered the last 4 meetings against UCLA. The Anteaters are 5-0-1 ATS as an underdog of 13 or more, all on the road, 4-0 in road games against teams with winning home records, 6-1 in road games, and as a road underdog, 6-1-1 in non-conference games, 7-2-1 overall, 6-2-1 after a loss, 9-3 in Tuesday games, and 6-2-1 as an underdog. The Bruins are 8-2-2 ATS in Tuesday games, 8-3 at home against teams with losing road records, 3-7 after allowing 50 points or less, in non-conference games, and against Big West teams, 2-5-1 as a favorite of 13 points or more including 1-5-1 at home, 9-23-1 after a cover, and 1-4 after a straight up win of 20 points or more.

It is a testament of how much UCLA is struggling that this line is only 16 points against a 2 win team. It probably should be 20 or maybe even 25. However, the Anteaters are playing much better after returning from Alaska. They have two blowout wins and 2 narrow losses at potential NCAA tournament teams Wyoming and LSU. Plus, UCI has 6 covers and a push in 8 lined games this season. I like the Anteaters to keep this close but UCLA wins late.

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