It’s true that UCLA came into the week ranked #25. It’s also true that UCLA advanced to the second round of the NCAA Basketball betting season tournament, thanks in part to a horrendous goal tending call that gave the Bruins the go-ahead points to eliminate Southern Methodist from that first-round game.
Arizona vs UCLA NCAA Basketball Betting Overview
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) January 4, 2016
Why Bet on the UCLA Bruins
However, it’s also true that UCLA is in a world of trouble after just two Pac-12 games. They opened conference play with a trip up north to Washington and Washington State…and came back 0-2. With #8 ranked Arizona coming to town on Thursday, how can the Bruins turn things around. Yes, Washington State won their third straight home game against UCLA, but the Cougars are also the worst team in the conference. Washington State was ranked #122 on KemPom.
What’s the problem in UCLA? It starts with their slow tempo. Athletic director Dan Guerrero boasted, after UCLA washed out of the NCAAs, that coach Steve Alford would institute an up-tempo game. The pace factor in UCLA’s game has dropped from 34th in Ben Howland’s last year to 75th in the nation. Alford has pushed an approach that relies heavily on big men, which means you can’t have the sort of track meet that has become popular in the NBA after Golden State won a title. Of course, his guards haven’t run the ball through the big men enough — and they’re not shooting the ball that well either.
Why Bet On The Arizona Wild Cats
So how about Arizona? They have an incredibly deep backcourt, thanks to Gabe York, Allonzo Trier and Kadeem Allen, who combined to shoot 55 percent from the field and score 54 of the Wildcats’ 94 points in their Pac-12 opener against Arizona State. York went 4 for 7 from behind the arc, including making all three in the second half. Trier put up 20 points of his own, finding ways to get to the rim — and finish the job. The Wildcat defense is also solid. Arizona State put on a run late, but then the Wildcats forced three turnovers in the last two minutes. Arizona is also terrific about collapsing down in the paint when the opposition drives to the basket.
My Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Right now, you have to like Arizona in this game. Their guards are better, and while the Bruins’ big men might be better, they can’t transition quickly enough when it’s time to shift to defense, and the Wildcats will make them pay in the end. Take the Wildcats, 84-72.