The Big West Tournament has started at the Silver State with the no. 10 Cal Poly Mustangs take on the 7th seeded Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday with a berth in the second round at stake.
Cal Poly is coming off a 70-54 road loss to UC Santa Barbara in their final regular season game while Cal State Fullerton was swept in a two-game road set against UC San Diego 85-78 last Saturday. The Titans lead their all-time series 25-24 by winning their most recent matchup- a quadruple overtime home triumph on February 15, 2020.
The Cal Poly Mustangs head to this game with a 3-19 overall record and a 1-15 Big West conference mark. Saturday’s road loss to UC Santa Barbara was their 9th consecutive defeat. In that game, the Mustangs hung around for most of the first half before the Gauchos took over the game.
Cal Poly led by six points with just over six minutes left in the first half then gave up a 21-12 run that gave the Gauchos the lead for good. The Mustangs rallied to cut the deficit to three at 41-38 but that was as close as they could get as UC Barbara pulled away from them. Tuukka Jaakkola led Cal Poly with 12 points off the bench in a losing effort.
Alimamy Koroma leads the Mustangs in scoring and rebounding at 13 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Colby Rogers is the only other double-digit scorer on the team at 11.6 points per game while Mark Crowe is putting up 7.3 points per game. Forward Brantley Stevenson is questionable for this game with an injured ankle.
The Cal State Fullerton Titans head to the Big West Tournament with a 5-7 conference record and an overall mark of 6-9. The defense has been the main issue for the Titans who are conceding an average of 78 points per game this season. They gave up an average of 86.5 points per game in four out of their last five games, all ending in losses.
In their last regular-season game against newcomer UC San Diego, they kept the game close for 30 minutes before the Tritons pulled away. The Titans led by one point with 12 minutes left to play but UC Sand Diego scored nine of the game’s next 11 points to take the lead for good. Tray Maddox Jr. led Cal State Fullerton with 30 points in the loss.
Maddox leads the team in scoring at 16.5 points per game while Dante Maddox Jr is the other Titan averaging in double figures at 11.7 points per game this season. Josh Hall leads Cal State Fullerton in rebounding at 7.6 boards grabbed per contest while also scoring 8.9 points per outing.
Cal Poly is 0-8 SU in their last eight games played. The Mustangs are 0-10 in their last 10 games played on March, 0-5 SU in their last five Tuesday games. Cal State Fullerton in 1-5 SU in their last six games played. The Titans are 1-5 SU in their last five games played in March, and 1-4 SU in their last five Tuesday games. Head to head, the Titans are 8-1 SU in their last nine games played against the Mustangs.
Cal State Fullerton has a much dependable offense between these two teams and they do better off the glass.
The Titans have played terrible defense this season and have conceded 86.5 points per game in four losses in their last five games. However, they are facing a Cal Poly team that has failed to score more than 61 points in six out of their last 10 games including three out of their last four. Give me the Titans in a game where the better offense wins.
Prediction: Cal State Fullerton -240
The Mustangs are 5-1 ATS in their last six games played. They are also 5-1 ATS in their last six games after a straight-up loss. However, Cal Poly is 0-3-1 ATS in their last four Tuesday games. They are also 0-6 ATS in their last six neutral site games played. The Titans are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall, 0-4 ATS in their last four games against an opponent with a losing SU record, and 1-5 ATS in their last six games against an opponent with a winning percentage of below .400. However, Cal State Fullerton is 5-2 ATS in their last seven Tuesday games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games after a straight-up defeat. Head to head, Cal State Fullerton is 12-6 ATS in their last 18 games played against Cal Poly.
These two teams are struggling heading to this contest. Cal Poly finished the season with only three wins and lost nine straight to close out the year. Meanwhile, Cal State-Fullerton dropped its final two games of the season to UC San Diego, a team making its debut in the NCAA’s Division I program. Both teams have awful defenses but between these two, CSU Fullerton has the much better offense that will win this game for them. It’s hard to trust a Cal Poly offense that’s struggling to average 60 points per game this season. I’ll eat the chalk here.
Prediction: Cal State Fullerton –6
The total has gone under in each of the last six games played by Cal Poly. The under is also 7- 0 in their last seven games after an ATS win, and 6-0 in their last six games after a straight-up loss. The Mustangs have also seen the total go under in five out of their last six games against the Big West Conference. The total has gone over in five out of the last six games played by Cal State Fullerton. The over is also 5-1 in their last six games against the Big West conference, 10-1 in their last 11 games played against opponents with a losing SU record, and 4-1 in their last five games after an SU loss. Head to head, the total has gone over in nine out of the last 10 games between these two teams.
Cal Poly ranks just 301st in the nation in defensive efficiency while Cal State-Fullerton is 293rd in the same statistical category. These teams have combined to score an average of 180.9 points per game in their last 10 meetings with the over hitting nine times during that span. The Titans have gone over 140 in five out of their last six games, giving up at least 84 points in those games. Cal State Fullerton’s leaky defense will help Cal Poly push things past the total.
Prediction: Over 140.5
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