Oskeim Sports previews Thursday’s Big West Conference clash between UC-Santa Barbara and CS-Northridge. Oskeim recommends taking the points with the Matadors as one of his free NCAA basketball picks for March 7.
Oskeim also provides free NCAA basketball picks in the following games: Evansville/Illinois State and Eastern Washington/Idaho State. Come back tomorrow for more free NCAA basketball picks from the No. 1 handicapper in the industry.
Northridge is one of the most undervalued teams in the nation despite winning three straight, including upsetting Hawaii 70-68 as eight-point underdogs. More importantly, the Matadors are 14-5 ATS in their last nineteen games overall, including 9-2 ATS following a win, 8-3 ATS versus conference foes and 7-3 ATS in their last ten home affairs.
In contrast, Santa Barbara is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven games and 0-4 ATS in its last four games versus .499 or worse opposition.
The Matadors are tied for fourth in the Big West Conference standings with Hawai’i and UC Davis with two games left in the regular season. Northridge can finish anywhere between third and seventh in the league with five teams separated by 1.5 games.
UC Irvine (13-1) has won the league regular season title while Cal State Fullerton is currently in second place (10-5) followed by UC Santa Barbara (8-6).
The Matadors possess a potent attack that is averaging 76.7 points per game (#1 scoring offense) on 46.4% shooting from the field against teams that would combine to allow 71.5 points per game to a mediocre offense.
Northridge is 9-5 ATS at home this season where it’s averaging 79.5 points per game on 40.1% shooting from beyond the arc. Sophomore Terrell Gomez leads the Big West in three-pointers made (106) and minutes per game (37.9). Gomez is second in the league in scoring (19.7) and free-throw percentage (87.8).
Northridge entered the 2018-19 season with one of the youngest rosters in the nation with nine freshmen (7 true freshmen) and eleven total underclassmen. One freshman, in particular, Lamine Diane, leads the Big West in points (24.2), rebounds (10.8) and blocks per game (2.2).
Diane leads the nation in field goals made (295), seventh in points per game and tenth in rebounds per game. Interesting Factoid: Diane is the only player in the country to average above 24 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Fellow freshman Darius Brown II is averaging 8.4 points per game, 5.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Brown is second in the league in assists-to-turnover (3.0) and assists per game while finishing third in steals per game.
Finally, the wrong team is favored in this game and the Matadors are primed to win their fourth straight so grab the points with the home underdog as one of Oskeim’s free NCAA basketball picks for Thursday.
Oskeim Sports’ Free NCAA Basketball Picks for March 7:
- CS-Northridge (+2.5) over UC-Santa Barbara
- Evansville (+5.5) over Illinois State
- Idaho State (+1) over Eastern Washington