College Basketball Odds, Picks, Prediction for UCLA vs. Colorado (Sunday, Feb. 26)
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Mick Cronin (UCLA)
UCLA vs. Colorado Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
UCLA will look to preserve its place atop the Pac-12 standings when it takes on Colorado on Sunday afternoon.
The Bruins currently sit two games above Arizona and USC with three games remaining on their schedule. UCLA has won seven games in a row and brings a ton of momentum into Boulder.
On the other side, Colorado will be looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses against two of the premier Pac-12 teams, Arizona and USC. The Buffaloes will also be looking to avenge a 68-54 loss to the Bruins on Jan. 14.
Even though Colorado has little to play for on the surface, it has been most comfortable playing in front of its home crowd, winning 11 of its 14 total home contests.
To pick which team will come away with a win, let’s take a look at the odds and make a prediction for UCLA vs. Colorado.
If you don’t know by now, Mick Cronin and the UCLA Bruins have built one of the premier teams this season in college basketball.
UCLA boasts a 24-4 record, with no loss coming to a team currently ranked outside the KenPom top 26.
The Bruins have achieved this level of success primarily on the defensive end of the floor. UCLA ranks second nationally in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, allowing its opponents to score just 59.8 points per game (6th nationally).
A key element to the Bruins’ defensive success is their ability to turn defense into offense through turnovers. UCLA ranks sixth nationally in turnover percentage at 24.5%.
More importantly the Bruins have the third-highest quick points off breakaway steals percentage, according to Haslametrics.
This on-ball defensive pressure was evident in the Bruins’ first matchup with Colorado, as they were able to force the Buffaloes into 23 total turnovers while only posting 11 turnovers themselves.
This turnover difference has a chance to see some regression for Colorado in this second matchup on its home floor.
Although Colorado has struggled with turnovers offensively, it has had some success creating them on the defensive end. The Buffaloes rank third in the Pac-12 in turnover percentage at 21.2%.
This increased turnover percentage should allow Colorado to see some increased success on the defensive end from its first matchup with a UCLA team that is extremely efficiency on the offensive end.
Colorado is looking to bounce back from two double-digit losses at the hands of Arizona and USC.
The Buffaloes will not get much of a breather as they now take on the Pac-12 leader, UCLA.
Much of Colorado’s struggles have occurred on the offensive end. The Buffaloes rank outside the top 200 in effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, 3-point percentage, and 2-point percentage.
All of these are areas the Bruins excel in, ranking no lower than 66th in any of these categories defensively.
To make matters worse, Colorado will be without Jalen Gabbidon and Javon Ruffin due to injury. Although just role players, these two combined to average 10.6 points per game, which is critical for a Colorado offense struggling with its consistency.
After practice just now #CUBuffs MBB coach Tad Boyle confirmed no Jalen Gabbidon (concussion) and no Javon Ruffin (knee) tomorrow vs. No. 4 UCLA
— Pat Rooney (@prooney07) February 25, 2023
Most importantly, Colorado’s offense will not be equipped to expose UCLA. The Bruins are forcing their opponents to shoot 39.6% of their field goal attempts from 3-point range, well above the national average.
This uptick in outside shots will not be welcomed by a Colorado offense ranking 316th nationally in 3-point percentage at just 31.4%.
Although Colorado is in a favorable get-right spot, there are far too many issues to trust the Buffaloes to produce consistent success on the offensive end.
UCLA vs. Colorado Betting Pick
With a regular-season finale with Arizona quickly approaching, it will be imperative for the Bruins to handle their business against a Colorado team that has nothing to lose.
In order to accomplish this, look for UCLA to lock down defensively against a Colorado offense dealing with injuries and consistency issues.
Additionally, Colorado should see some progression of its own on the defensive end through its ability to create on-ball pressure.
Given these factors, I believe the best investment here is on the under in a game Colorado will look to match the defensive intensity UCLA has displayed all season long.
Pick: Under 134.5 (Play to 133.5)
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