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We’re kicking off March Madness with a ton of great head-to-head matchups in the round of 64, an exciting matchup, in particular, will be the No. 3 Baylor Bears that were gifted the No. 3 seed in the Southern Region of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, facing off against the No. 14 seed UC Santa Barbara in the chilly mountains of Denver, Colorado. UC Santa Barbara earned their way into the March Madness Tournament following their hard-fought win over Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Tournament title game. During the regular season, UCSB was also named a co-champion, finishing the season with a 27-7 record, and going 15-5 in conference play.
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Head Coach: Joe Pasternack
Record: 27-7 (15-5, 1st in Big West)
UC Santa Barbara was able to steal a spot into March Madness with a tough victory over Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Conference Championship Game. UCSB ended their regular season with a four-game winning streak which secured the No. 2 seed in conference play for the Gauchos. Their last appearance in the NCAA tournament was back in 2021 and this year they are back and better.
UC Santa Barbara is led by Ajay Mitchell on the offensive end who puts in 16.4 points per night. With Andre Kelly pulling down 6.5 rebounds a night and a defense that can hold opponents to just 65.4 points per contest which is the 49th best in the nation. UCSB excels at controlling the pace on the floor, which causes problems for opposing teams in the Big West on a typical night.
Head Coach: Scott Drew
Record: 22-10 (11-7, 1st in Big 12)
The Bears are sitting at the top of the list, amongst the best teams in the nation once again as they’ve made it out of the Big 12 gauntlet as the conference's third-seeded team. The Baylor Bears have run through just about every team in the Big 12 but struggled to get past Kansas State and Iowa State, two teams that Baylor received four tough losses in conference play. Baylor has failed to get past these two sleeper teams but that should not be any reason to worry. The Bears are an offensive powerhouse showcasing some of the best guards and NBA prospects in the country.
They are led by projected NBA lottery pick, Keyonte George who puts up 16 points a night as well as a ton of help on the offensive end from Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer who each average over 14 points a night. The floor-spread offense by Baylor is powered by skilled guard play as the Bears aim to get their second Championship out of the last three seasons.
This can be an unexpected, tough matchup for the Baylor Bears in the round of 64 strictly due to Baylor’s concerning defense at the rim as they currently allow 72.6% of shots at the rim which is the most in the tournament while UC Santa Barbara has the 41st-highest amount allowed at the rim in the tournament. UCSB also excels at getting to the line and knocking down free throws, which is a dangerous obstacle for the Baylor Bears as they rank outside of the top 80 in allowing free throws.
Location: Denver, Colorado
Game Time & Date: 1:20 P.M. ET on 3/17/2023
TV Network: TNT
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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