College Basketball Odds & Picks for UCLA vs. Washington: Back the Huskies at Home
Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Terrell Brown.
- No. 17 UCLA hits the road to face Washington in a Pac-12 affair.
- The Bruins are coming off of a beatdown of Oregon State last week while the Huskies have lost four of their last five games.
- Tanner McGrath is backing Washington and you'll find out why below.
UCLA vs. Washington Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Huskies will host the Bruins in one of the least-important Pac-12 games of the season.
After a loss to Oregon, the Bruins are most likely locked into the three-seed in the NCAA Tournament. A win over USC in the regular-season finale would get them a two-seed if USC loses to Arizona on Tuesday.
But does it really make a difference to Mick Cronin?
Meanwhile, Washington finally won a game after a four-game losing streak. At 9-8 in conference play, the Huskies are just trying to get to the conference tournament unscathed.
Moreover, this isn’t even Senior Night for Washington, as it has two more home games following this one.
So, with UCLA laying double digits on the road, which unmotivated team should we back?
I think it’s fair to say that UCLA was slightly overvalued entering this season.
Many pundits expected this. The Bruins went on the run of a lifetime in the tournament last year with some impressive shooting luck. UCLA is an elite team, but it is not the second-best team in the country.
Instead, a relatively lackluster second half of the season has the Bruins at 13-5 in Pac-12 play, ranked No. 10 in KenPom, and projected as a three- or four-seed in the Big Dance.
However, the Bruins could improve their stock entering March with a road win here and then a home win over USC next Saturday. Although it’s questionable if there’s much motivation to.
The Bruins should be looking firmly at winning the Pac-12 tournament. Standing in its way will be USC and Arizona – and maybe Oregon if Dana Altman can align his Rubik’s Cubes.
UCLA can stand toe-to-toe with all those teams, and I actually believe the Bruins have some matchup advantages. But they split with Arizona, got swept by Oregon and lost to USC in those matchups this season.
But how does UCLA match up with Washington on Monday night?
Apparently, pretty well. The Bruins rocked Washington 10 days ago, winning by 26 at home. However, the Bruins shot 10-for-22 from 3 that game, while Washington shot just 3-from-17 from deep itself. And I’m questioning UCLA’s motivation in this spot.
It’s been a tough season for the Huskies. Mike Hopkins might be on the hot seat if the team finishes below .500 in conference play again.
Washington runs at a fast pace – the Huskies are second in the conference in tempo behind Arizona – and it scores 70 points per game as a result. While the Huskies take care of the ball, the team is inefficient in making shots, ranking 11th in 2-point percentage and ninth in eFG% in the conference.
And because it runs at such a fast pace, Washington allows the second-most points in the conference, at 72.9. And while Washington can force turnovers, the team is inefficient stopping shots, ranking 10th in defensive eFG%.
In the end, Washington has largely beat the teams it is supposed to but has floundered in bigger moments.
However, a home win over a surging Washington State team might signal a turning point for Washington. Point guard Terrell Brown – the team’s highest-usage player – dropped 25 points in the eight-point victory.
Brown takes 33% of the team’s shots, which ranks 14th nationally, but he doesn’t just score. His 31.3% assist rate ranks 53rd among all D-I players, as he’s dishing out 4.3 assists per game to go along with his 21.5 points per game.
Brown is a transfer from Arizona who transferred there from Seattle. While he’s been a high-usage player in the past, this is his finest season. He currently ranks second in KenPom’s Pac-12 player of the year rankings, and he’ll be one of the top picks to take home that award after the season is over.
First, however, he’ll try and rip apart UCLA’s backcourt.
UCLA vs. Washington Betting Pick
I love this spot for Washington.
Mick Cronin and UCLA are likely just looking to get in and out with a win, especially because the team is closing out a three-game road trip. Moreover, the Bruins are off a 40-point win over Oregon State, and they could be sleepwalking in this spot while looking ahead to Senior night against USC.
Meanwhile, Washington is hopefully coming into this game with confidence after the win over Washington State.
And, as mentioned, I think we’ll see a ton of regression from the last time these two played. If Washington shoots slightly better than 3-for-17 from deep, while UCLA shoots slightly worse than 45.5%, we could easily see the Huskies hanging within single digits.
If I’m catching 10 or more points, I’ll take the Huskies as a home dog.