|-1.5 UCD (-103) @ pinnacle|
My 9* Situational Stunner is on UC-Davis at 7:00 ET.
The class of the Big West this season is clearly UC-Santa Barbara, which is 1-4 overall, including 11-3 in league play. The Big West tourney will be played Mar 9-13 in Las Vegas but first there's the final weekend of regular season play. The 10-8 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (8-8 in Big West) and the 8-6 UC Davis Aggies (5-3 Big West) meet Friday at the Pavilion in Davis, Ca.
Eran Ganot's Hawaii team is led by two returning players and two transfers. Guard Webster (12.4 & 3.4) and the 6-7 Jardine (11.6 & 5.6) are the top returning players but also note that the 7-0 Colina is averaging 6.0 & 5.4 at center (off the bench), after averaging 1.6 & 1.6 last season. The two key transfers are the 6-8 Jean-Marie (12.3 & 4.7) and guard Madut (10.9 & 4.3).
Jim Les played and coached at Bradley (nine years) but is in his 10th season at UC-Davis. He won 20-plus games three times in a four-season span (2015-15 thru 2017-18) but the Aggies followed with 11-20 and 14-18 seasons the previous two years. This year's team has been greatly affected by COVID but seems to be coming together (more later). Les was a terrific guard at Bradley (MVC player of the year in 1986) and his current team has FOUR guards averaging in double digits. Manjon (15.9-29.3.4) and Pepper (14.7 & 5.1) are two of the Big West's best guards plus Squire (12.1-3.3-2.8) and Fuller (11.5 & 3.7) are no slouches. The 6-7 Koehler (11.5 & 5.5) and the 6-9 Anigwe (6.5 & 4.9) are the top frontcourt contributors.
Hawaii has been hovering around .500 for most of the year and has had trouble staying on the right side of the 'Mendoza line' UC-Davis did not play from Dec 5 through Jan 24 before of COVID protocols and when the Aggies returned, they lost FOUR of five. However, UC-Davis enters this contest on a FIVE-game winning streak and gets to finish its season at home with back-to-back home games with Hawaii. A 2-0 sweep could earn the Aggies the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Big West tourney. First things FIRST. Expect UC-Davis to win this one and the pointspread means a "W" is almost a guaranteed cover!