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UCLA AT WASHINGTON

1/24/09

It would be hard for UCLA to top last years final four appearance, but they certainly could do it. The UCLA Bruins will enter Saturdayís game against Washington fresh off a thrilling two point victory over the Washington State Cougars on Thursday night. Propelled by forward Nikola Dragovic , who had a career high 20 points, the Bruins blew a decent lead but still managed to hang on for the victory. If they wish to escape Washington with another win, they canít go to sleep on the Washington Huskies in the second half.


Washington is back at home after picking up two easy wins at Oregon and Oregon State. Their play at home has been up and down with wins over Stanford and in state rival Washington State. On the flip side, they have dropped games to Kansas, Florida, and a heartbreaking OT to California while playing on their own hard wood. The Huskies need to obtain a marquee win to keep their march madness hopes alive and this would certainly be a huge win for them if they can manage it.
The Bruins are a seasoned and veteran team. Currently ranked #11 with a 15-3 record, they are certainly a stellar bunch. Conference play has been hard on them so far. They are winning by small margins, but still remain atop the PAC-10. Their leader is Darren Collison, who is best described as agile and dangerous on the court. He is just about as tough as a guard as you will find in the NCAA, and he can carry this team if needed. Collison leads UCLA with 14.9 PPG and 5.4 APG. Josh Shipp and Jrue Holiday are also tough guards. Alfred Aboya leads in RPG at 5.6, and is probably the best paint man for this team.

 

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The Huskies arenít without a few good men either. Their overall record stands at 13-4, and this game could put them atop the PAC-10. Jon Brockman is averaging a double-double with 15.8 PPG and 10.7 RPG. The senior has put in big efforts against good teams, and will have to continue that trend to help his team. He will find his biggest help from Isaiah Thomas, who has been white hot lately. His best effort 23 point, 6 rebound performance in a win against Oregon. Quincy Pondexter is averaging 6.0, and I expect him to continue wiping the glass against the Bruins.


Key matchups include Alfred Aboya vs Jon Brockman. I expect Brockman to have his way and dominate down low. If he gets crazy on the boards, it could be all but over for UCLA. It wonít come without a fight, because Aboya has handled this type of player in the past. Alternatively, I expect Darren Collison to get the best of Isaiah Thomas. Collison is a big guard, and is lightning quick. I may be wrong, but I donít think Thomas will be able to keep pace with this future NBA guard. If Collison is having an off night, it could spell disaster for the Bruins.


From what I have gathered the line will be somewhere around 2 points, with the Huskies going off the favorite. This one is hard to pick a winner, but if you put a gun to my head I would side with the home team Huskies. The Bruins havenít played well on the road and have no real answer for Jon Brockman. If Washington gets to dance, the selection committee will likely be weighing this game in their decision. The Huskies are the play here at -2 or less. Anything more than a bucket and we'd have to consider the underdog Bruins. Good luck, and refer back to Bettorsworld.com for the latest gambling news and tips.

 

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