NCAAB Odds, Picks & Prediction for Arizona vs UCLA
Pictured: Tyger Campbell #10 of the UCLA Bruins. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Arizona vs UCLA Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
We’ve got a doozy of a matchup at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday evening, as the UCLA Bruins look to get revenge against the Arizona Wildcats on Senior Night. The Bruins have already clinched the Pac-12 regular season title, but Mick Cronin is the type of coach who wants his team clicking at all cylinders right before an important stretch of games.
The Wildcats have had another terrific season, despite a couple of departures. However, UCLA has been an absolute gauntlet all year and has yet to show any signs that it’s not worthy of a national championship.
The Wildcats defeated the Bruins 58-52 in a defensive slugfest at McKale Memorial Center on January 21. Will we see a similar result here? Or will the Bruins get revenge? Let’s dive in and uncover the best betting angle.
If the Wildcats played in any other conference, they would be one of the biggest darlings in college basketball. Unfortunately for them, UCLA has taken all of the shine from the Pac-12.
Tommy Lloyd’s squad does a lot of terrific things on both sides of the floor. The Wildcats are sixth in offensive efficiency and 57th in defensive efficiency. What’s more impressive is their ability to get hot from behind the arc, where they rank 21st in 3PT%.
Azoulas Tubelis is the Wildcats anchor and is averaging almost a double-double on the season (20 points and nine rebounds per game). The backcourt tandem of Kerr Kriisa and Courtney Ramey has also supplied plenty of stability, which has contributed to Arizona’s success.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, I sense some regression coming. Per Shot Quality, they hold a -17.66-record luck rating, which is surprising considering how they rank in the majority of other underlying metrics.
One area that could certainly be improved is the Wildcats don’t force many turnovers. In fact, they rank in the bottom 200’s in turnover percentage. This is an area that could swing this matchup as the Bruins are inside the top 10 in takeaways.
I’m really regretting not taking a stab on the Bruins to win the national championship earlier in the year after they lost to Illinois and Baylor. The Bruins have been arguably the best team in the country since December and have shown no signs of slowing down.
The Bruins’ experience has led the way. This, of course, is lead by senior Jaime Jaquez Jr., who is having another terrific season and leading the Bruins in scoring (17 PPG).
Defensively, UCLA has been extremely impressive lately and has climbed all the way up to the No. 2 rank in defensive efficiency, per Kenpom. They are also getting it done on the offensive end, where they rank 22nd.
The Bruins also do a great job of earning second chances on offense and forcing turnovers. They rank inside the top 20 in both categories.
However, no team is perfect. UCLA’s rank of 237th in free-throw percentage and its -9.28 record-luck are a bit concerning moving forward. If this matchup is tight down the stretch, that could end up being the difference.
Arizona vs UCLA Betting
This, to me, is a UCLA spot all the way. I realize the Bruins lost their previous matchup to the Wildcats, but I think they’ve been playing much better basketball lately. Also, they shot 4-of-20 from behind the arc in that game. That probably won’t happen again.
Overall, I like the makeup of this Wildcats squad, but as we head into crunch time, I have a hard time trusting their guards and think the Bruins match up really well in that area.
I trust Tyger Campbell and Jaylen Clark over Kriisa and Ramey.
I leaned to the over when I first started digging into this matchup, but I think both of these teams are capable of shutting one another down once again. I feel much more confident in laying the points with the Bruins. I think they’ll get their revenge on Senior Night.
Pick: UCLA -4.5 (Play to -7)
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