NCAAB Odds, Picks & Prediction for Arizona vs. UCLA
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Amari Bailey (UCLA)
Pac-12 Tournament Championship
Arizona vs. UCLA Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
For the second consecutive year, Arizona and UCLA will meet in the Pac-12 Tournament title game. It’s the result most expected, as these have been the two best teams in the league over the past two years.
Arizona and UCLA have split the past six meetings, including the two in the regular season this year.
Last year’s Pac-12 Tournament final had 160 points and last week’s battle in Westwood had 155 points. I’m anticipating another high-scoring matchup in this one.
Arizona ranks fifth nationally in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and fourth in scoring at 83.3 points per game. The Wildcats have scored 78 points or more in 11 of their past 12 games and will face a UCLA team that has moved into the nation’s top spot in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
Arizona has averaged just 65.5 points in the two meetings this season. However, this time Arizona should have more success.
UCLA entered the Pac-12 Tournament without guard Jaylen Clark, who was lost for the season with a torn Achilles.
Yesterday, center Adem Bona went down with a shoulder injury. While the severity of the injury is unknown, I would not expect him to play given the quick turnaround.
Clark and Bona are UCLA’s two best defenders, but for this matchup, losing Bona will be more significant.
Arizona has the nation’s best frontcourt in forward Azuolas Tubelis and center Oumar Ballo. In the first meeting, Ballo was more effective, while Tubelis had the better game last week with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Kenneth Nwuba and Mac Etienne will see more minutes if Bona cannot go, and they will be tasked with slowing down Tubelis and Ballo. If they are not up to that task, Arizona could have its way inside.
UCLA’s offense should have its share of success, as well. Arizona’s defense has been inconsistent this season and that has shown up in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Arizona held Arizona State to just 59 points last night. The Sun Devils shot just 32% from the field and finished the game 2-for-19 from 3 after a 4-for-7 start.
However, in the Wildcats’ quarterfinal matchup, Stanford scored 84 points and shot 49% from the field despite turning the ball over 17 times. The Cardinal also knocked down 14 3s in a game that featured 179 points.
UCLA comes into tonight’s matchup averaging 77.5 points per game in its first two tournament outings. It’s much more likely to shoot like Stanford than Arizona State against Arizona.
Yesterday, UCLA was 9-for-19 from beyond the arc, including guard David Singleton shooting 3-of-3.
Point guard Tyger Campbell had one of the best games of his career with 28 points and six assists against Oregon. He also scored 21 points last week against Arizona, while Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 22 points and 10 rebounds.
UCLA will need big performances from its senior leaders.
If the game is played at Arizona’s tempo, you can expect a fast-paced matchup. Arizona ranks eighth nationally in Adjusted Tempo and 13th in average possession length offensively.
UCLA tends to play slower, ranking 222nd and 191st, respectively, in those categories. However, the Bruins have played faster over the past few weeks and could look to run more if they go with a smaller lineup without Bona.
The over has hit in four of Arizona’s past five games and three of UCLA’s past five games. It has also hit in two of the past three meetings in this series.
Factoring in both these trends — and UCLA’s injuries — leads me to the over.
Pick: Over 148.5
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