Tuesday Night NCAAM Pick: UC Irvine vs. UC San Diego Prediction

Jessica Gridiron
UC Irvine v UC San Diego prediction and pick.
UC Irvine v UC San Diego prediction and pick. / Sam Morris/GettyImages

Two conference rivals face off in tonight's Tuesday Night Big West NCAAM showdown tonight. The upstart UC Irvine Anteaters head to the home of the UC San Diego Tritons in tonight's prime-time battle. In this forecast, let's dive into the UC Irvine vs. UC San Diego matchup and determine the best bet for this Tuesday Night NCAAM prediction.

Tuesday Night NCAAM Pick: UC Irvine vs. UC San Diego Prediction

The Anteaters enter this game on a five-game winning streak and are playing exceptionally well as of late. UCI is undefeated in their last five games against UC San Diego. UC San Diego is coming off of an 85-62 win over UC Riverside, where they were 4-point underdogs. They enter this game with an 11-12 overall record and a 5-7 conference record.

UC Irvine

The Anteaters' defense has significantly improved over the last six games. Whereas their defensive average sits at 60.5 points per game on the season, they have dropped that number to 56.6 per game in the previous six games. They enter this game with the 58th adjusted defensive efficiency in the nation per KenPom and only allow 96.2 points per 100 possessions.

Offensively, UC Irvine enters this game with the 208th ranked adjusted offense efficiency according to KenPom – scoring 101.1 points per 100 possessions. This year, the Colonels own the 304th best effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and turn the ball over a ton (276th in turnover percentage). This Anteater offense has many areas of improvement and will likely struggle to put up points like their 62.9 points per game average indicates. They have one of the slowest adjusted tempos in the nation, coming in at 313th this season.

UC San Diego

The Tritons have quite the task at hand tonight. This season, they struggle on both sides of the ball, but the defense is the biggest issue. UCSD allows 70.7 points per game and has the 278th ranked adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom. The two significant areas of concern for this defense are their inability to stop opponents and the lack of turnovers they cause. They are giving up a 52% effective field goal percentage (261st ranked) to opponents and only force turnovers 17.7% of the time – good for 231st in the nation.

Although the Tritons' offense ranks better than their defense, it isn't much to write home about. They come in with the 212th rated adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom and can shoot the ball well. UCSD's 51.8% effective field goal percentage ranks 97th in the nation, and their free throw rate is one of the highest, ranking 53rd this season. They fail to execute on the offensive end via offensive rebounding (355th) and their turnover percentage (241st).

UC Irvine vs. UC San Diego Prediction and Pick

The Anteaters improved defense should help negate the above-average eFG% of the Tritons. With their 58th ranked adjusted defensive efficiency combined with one of the slowest adjusted tempos in the nation (313th), this game should be a low-scoring, snail's pace where both teams struggle to put up 65 points. On offense, UCI will slow things down (332nd in average offensive possession length), while defensively, they will shut down the Tritons offense. Whereas the UCSD defense has nothing to write home about, the Anteaters offense is below average and will struggle without any outside influence. Take the under 134 points (-110) in tonight's UCI / UCSD matchup at the FanDuel Sportsbook.

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