The final automatic bid of the Saturday college basketball slate will be awarded in the Big West conference, with CSU Fullerton and Long Beach State set to square off for a place in the NCAA Tournament. Here, the top-two seeds in the Big West will face off in the only game that can grant a Big West team entry into the tournament each year. In our college basketball betting picks, we look at CSU Fullerton vs Long Beach State in the Big West championship game.
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CSU Fullerton vs Long Beach State Betting Pick
This game will be played at 11:30 PM ET at Dollar Loan Center on Saturday, March 12, 2022.
Why Bet On CSU Fullerton:
✅ CSU Fullerton has a huge difference maker on the inside in EJ Anosike. The brother of Siena College great OD Anosike, EJ is a similarly strong interior presence and rebounder. He averages just over 16 points and eight rebounds per game, and is going to be able to get what he wants in the paint to help CSU Fullerton win this matchup.
✅ Long Beach State won the only meeting between these two teams in the regular season. But some context is required here, as the 49ers were at home for that game, with the contest scheduled to take place between these teams at CSU Fullerton getting canceled. The Titans are better than they looked in that first meeting, and will come away with this one.
✅ The Titans play a more methodical pace than do the 49ers, who rank 20th in adjusted tempo per Kenpom. CSU Fullerton will work to control the pace of this game, and will be able to slow down Long Beach State to keep their scoring output at a minimum en route to a conference championship.
CSU Fullerton Titans
The CSU Fullerton Titans finished second in the Big West standings in the regular season, and beat UC Davis and Hawaii to get to the conference championship game. The win over Hawaii was an impressive one for Fullerton, who held the Rainbow Warriors under 50 points en route to a double-digit victory. The Titans will aim for a similarly straightforward win in the final here, but that will be easier said than done.
In order to win this game, the Titans absolutely must limit Long Beach State guard Joel Murray. Murray averages just over 16 points per game for the 49ers, and converts on over 85% of his free throw attempts. Defending Murray without fouling him and giving him easy points at the line will be a must for Fullerton’s Big West title aspirations.
Long Beach State 49ers
The top seeded Long Beach State 49ers made it to the Big West championship game with wins over CSU Bakersfield and UC Santa Barbara. They have yet to play a top-four team in the conference tournament, which will change when they take on the Titans on Saturday night. And if the 49ers want to win this contest, it will be all about interior defense.
Long Beach State averages more rebounds and blocks per game than Fullerton, but EJ Anosike still has the potential to control things in the paint. If the 49ers can keep him in check or get him into foul trouble, they will greatly increase their chances of earning a conference title.