Basketball Pick: Arizona vs. UCLA

Matchup: Arizona Wildcats vs. UCLA Bruins

Date/Time: January 9th, 9:00 ET

Television: ESPN

College Basketball Odds from WagerWeb

Point Spread: Off

Total: Off

It will be a huge Pac 12 match-up on Thursday when the UCLA Bruins play host to the Arizona Wildcats at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN inside Pauley Pavilion. Something will have to give as both of these teams are off to an undefeated start inside the conference.

The Wildcats enter this contest undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country after starting their conference season off 2-0. Last time out, Arizona had its hands full with the Washington Huskies, but pulled out a 71-62 victory. This trip to Los Angeles will be the Wildcats’ first road contest of the conference season. Junior G Nick Johnson leads the Wildcats averaging 16.0 points per game including a season-high 24 points in his last game. F Aaron Gordon is Arizona’s freshman sensation averaging 12.4 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per game. The 6’9″ forward scored 18 in the win over Washington and completed the double-double with 11 boards. In its closest road contest to date, Arizona defeated the Michigan Wolverines 72-70 on December 14th after rallying back from an 11-point second half deficit. Sophomore F Brandon Ashley led the Wildcats in that game with 18 points and six rebounds, while Johnson made six consecutive foul shots in the final 25 seconds to put away the win. Arizona is 2-0 ATS on the road to start the season, but will need strong performances from its top players to reach 16-0 SU.

UCLA trumped its crosstown rival USC Trojans 107-73 on January 5th to start its Pac 12 season. Sophomore G Kyle Anderson led the Bruins over the Trojans with a spectacular effort tallying 23 points and 12 rebounds. However, the Bruins have only faced two tough challenges to this point and failed in both. The first was an 80-63 loss at home to the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils on December 19th. The second was an 80-71 defeat at the hands of the streaking Missouri Tigers. The Blue Devils serve as the only common opponent between these teams and the Wildcats were able to defeat them on a neutral court 72-66 on November 29th at Madison Square Garden. If the Bruins want a fighting chance in this contest they will need a big performance from leading scorer G Jordan Adams who is averaging 18.7 points per game and 5.0 boards per game. Adams dropped 24 points on the Wildcats last season in a 66-64 win in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas on March 15th. UCLA has started its season 6-3 ATS at home including a comfortable cover against the Trojans.

Prediction:

We think the Wildcats have faced some big tests early in the season and that should help them get a win at UCLA on Thursday night. Arizona should come into this game with a chip on its shoulder having been beaten by UCLA last season. Our confidence in UCLA to lose at home so handily has everything to do with its inability to beat Duke at MSG while Arizona was able to score a victory over the Blue Devils on the same court. Expect a big game from the Wildcats who will dominate the Bruins inside and out to improve on a 10-4 ATS mark. Arizona 75 – UCLA 62

Adam Markowitz

Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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