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How to bet No. 3 Baylor vs No. 14 UC Santa Barbara in March Madness

Adam Flagler

Adam Flagler

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Vaughn Dalzell breaks down how to bet the No. 3 Baylor Bears vs No. 14 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in the NCAA Tournament.

UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor (-11.5): O/U 145.5

Baylor has fallen off over the last three weeks with a 2-4 record and another disappointing loss to Iowa State.

The previous loss to Iowa State was Baylor’s first game on a neutral court since Dec. 2. UC Santa Barbara is 5-0 on neutral courts this season with wins over Fresno State, App State, Cal Poly, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton by seven or more points. Not impressive on paper, I know.

The Gauchos return 66.4% of their minutes from last year (23rd) and has an average of 2.48 years of experience (71st). UC Santa Barbara rarely uses a bench with 22.1% of minutes there (343rd) and focuses on a seven-man rotation. This is an experienced team that went from 17-11 last year to 27-7 this season.

Baylor is similar with a seven-man rotation but Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua hasn’t been healthy and played a combined 26 minutes in the last two games. The Bears are also without Langston Love, so their depth is taking a hit entering March.

UC Santa Barbra led the Big West in turnover percentage and ranked 79th in the country (16.8%), plus shoots above 73% from the free-throw line and aa top 100 offense. Baylor loves its offense as well (2nd in the country) but has fallen off on defense (104th and last in the Big 12).

Baylor ranks 314th in two-point defense (53.3%) and UC Santa Barbara scores 58% of its points from two (20th-most) and shoots 54.8% from there (24th).

Of all the three seeds, I think Baylor is the most liable to get upset in the first round. I grabbed the Gauchos at +11.5 (-106) and would go down to +10. I sprinkled the ML at +470.

I think the Gauchos surprise people and hang with the Bears. I lean the Over 145.5.

Pick: UC Santa Barbara +11.5 (1u), UC Santa Barbara ML (0.25u)


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