The Big West Conference champion and No. 14 seed UC Santa Barbara Gauchos open 2023 NCAA Tournament play on Friday when they take on the No. 3 seed Baylor Bears in a South Region matchup. The Gauchos (27-7, 15-5 Big West), who have won seven in a row, are making their seventh March Madness appearance and second in three years. The Gauchos were a 12 seed in 2021, losing to No. 5 seed Creighton 63-62 in the first round. The Bears (22-10, 11-7 Big 12), who tied with Kansas State for third-place in the Big 12, two games behind champion Kansas, have lost four of six. This is Baylor’s 15th NCAA Tournament appearance.
Tipoff from Ball Arena in Denver is set for 1:30 p.m. ET. The Bears are 10-point favorites in the latest Baylor vs. UC Santa Barbara odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over/under for total points scored is set at 141.5. Before making any UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor picks, be sure to check out the college basketball predictions and March Madness betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. The model enters the 2023 NCAA Tournament 79-53 on all-top rated college basketball picks this season, returning nearly $1,300 for $100 players. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor and just locked in its picks and March Madness predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are the college basketball lines and trends for UCSB vs. Baylor:
- UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor spread: Baylor -10
- UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor over/under: 141.5 points
- UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor money line: UC Santa Barbara +430, Baylor -600
- UCSB: The Gauchos are 4-0-1 against the spread in their last five games following an ATS win
- BAY: The Bears are 6-1 ATS in their last seven NCAA Tournament games
- UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why Baylor can cover
The Bears are led by freshman guard Keyonte George, who has reached double-digit scoring 23 times on the year. He has scored 20 or more points 11 times, and more than 30 once. He scored 32 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out two assists in an 83-78 win at West Virginia on Jan. 11. In 31 games, all starts, George averages 15.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals in 28.9 minutes of action.
Senior guard Adam Flagler has been red hot of late, reaching double-figure scoring in each of the last four games and in 10 of 11. He scored 20 points in the regular-season finale against Iowa State on March 4, and had 22 points, seven assists and three rebounds at Kansas in an 87-71 loss on Feb. 18. Flagler poured in 28 points, dished out four assists and had two rebounds in a 72-68 win at TCU on Feb. 11. In 30 games, all starts, he is averaging 15.5 points, 4.7 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 33.5 minutes.
Why UC Santa Barbara can cover
Sophomore guard Ajay Mitchell went on a tear during the Big West Conference Tournament. He scored 20 or more points in all three games, including 28 in a 92-87 semifinal win over UC Riverside last Friday. He scored 20 points and added four assists and four rebounds in a 72-62 win over Cal State Fullerton in the title game on Saturday. In 34 games, all starts, Mitchell is averaging 16.4 points, 5.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals. He is connecting on 50.9% of his field goals and 81.5% of his free throws.
Senior forward Miles Norris has scored in double figures in each of the last nine games, including one double-double during that stretch. He scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in an 81-61 win over Hawaii on March 4. It was his fourth double-double of the year. He has also started all 34 games and is averaging 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and one steal per game. He scored a season-high 25 points in an 87-71 win over UC San Diego on Feb. 25.
How to make UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Over on the total, projecting 149 combined points. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in over 50% of simulations. You can only get the model’s pick at SportsLine.
So who wins UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor? And which side of the spread cashes in over 50% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned nearly $1,300 on its college basketball picks this season, and find out.