Arizona at UCLA Basketball Picks
Date/Time: Saturday March 2, 9:00 pm EST
College Basketball Odds from Bookmaker
Point Spread: UCLA -1.5
The Arizona Wildcats and UCLA Bruins are right in the thick of the chase for the PAC12 regular season title. UCLA upset Arizona on the road earlier this year. The Wildcats started off the season red hot, but they are in a bit of a tailspin of late. Can the Bruins pick up the season sweep? The oddsmakers expect a tight battle all the way to the end in this one. College Game Day will be at UCLA and this will be the featured Saturday night matchup on ESPN.
Arizona was one of the last unbeaten teams in the nation this year. The Wildcats have an efficient offense led by Xavier-transfer Mark Lyons. Lyons was a dynamic shooting guard for the Musketeers, but Arizona has turned him into their point guard. Lyons averages 15.2 points per game, but he only has 88 assists all season. Lyons is a great scorer but whether he can be enough of a distributer for Arizona to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament remains to be seen.
The Wildcats have plenty of offensive fire power, but to win the PAC12, their defense will have to step it up. Arizona started the season playing well on the defensive end, but inside the PAC12 conference their opponents have been shooting the ball pretty well. The Wildcats have plenty of athleticism and quickness, but sometimes they aren’t terribly disciplined defensively. UCLA put up a big number on Arizona in the first meeting between these two, and the Wildcats will need to be better defensively to win in Southern California.
UCLA has been up and down all season. One week everyone is writing off the Bruins, and the next week it seems everyone is jumping on the band wagon. Ben Howland’s team has some great wins, but they have also had some ugly losses. They’ll have to be a little more consistent to be a post-season threat. UCLA averages 76 points per game so far this season. The Bruins have a lot of balance on offense. Four Bruins average at least 10 points per game, led by Shabazz Muhammad with 18.2 points per game. Muhammad is one of the most versatile players in the PAC12, and most teams don’t have anyone who can keep him in check. Kyle Anderson is an underrated all around very good player for UCLA. Anderson can score or distribute the ball, and his size makes him a difficult matchup.
While the Bruins are one of the best in the conference offensively, they have some work to do on the defensive end. Opponents are shooting 42 percent from the floor against the Bruins. Most concerning is UCLA weakness on the defensive glass. The Bruins often give the opposing team two or three shots on one possession because of their poor rebounding.
Free Pick: UCLA -1.5
Arizona hasn’t been playing well of late, and Pauley Pavilion is never an easy place to play. I like the Bruins balance on offense, and I think that will lead them to a victory.
UCLA 77 Arizona 72
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