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UCLA

vs

Oregon

PAC 12

College Basketball Pick

1/23/16

As is usually the case, the Pac-12 isn't getting much attention. But as we get closer to tournament time, that will change as many people are calling the Pac-12 the deepest conference in the country and are projected by some to have eight teams in the tourney.

Both of these teams, surprisingly in UCLA's case, are expected to make it. However, the Bruins have a long way to go before locking up a spot. UCLA has had a weird season with non-conference losses to Monmouth and Wake Forest, but also wins over Kentucky and Gonzaga. Their strength of schedule will be a big help if they're sitting on the bubble come selection time. Still, even with a conference win over Arizona, the Bruins haven't been nearly consistent enough as they just lost by 14 points at home this past weekend to USC.

Oregon, despite injuries, has played better en route to a 15-4 record. Of course, the Ducks haven't played as tough of schedule and that has helped, but they are coming off a nice win over USC on Thursday and will look to add one against UCLA before travelling to Arizona next week.

UCLA always seems to have depth issues and that's the case again with this squad. Five players average above 28 minutes per game and only one other guy sees 13-plus minutes per game. That has led to some defensive issues as they allow almost 80 points per game. In fact, the Bruins allowed at least 85 points in four of their first five conference games. That's not a recipe for success in college basketball.

Oregon doesn't score a bunch, but they have the players to that can fill it up if they aren't being guarded. All five Ducks starters have the ability to shoot it with range as they all have at least 10 made threes on the year. Probably no one else in the country can say that and by the numbers, Oregon's second best three-point shooter actually comes off the bench (Dwayne Benjamin). UCLA has two big guys in the four and five spot and it will be an issue for them on the defensive end.

The Ducks are well rounded, though, with Dillon Brooks leading the way with 15.8 points per game. Three other players average at least 11 per game as well. In addition, five players on this team average at least 4.4 rebounds per game. Mainly that shows how Dana Altman runs his team. A lot of the players are interchangeable on the offensive end.

But the advantage for the Bruins on offense will be their size. Oregon doesn't really have the guys to be able to defend both Tony Parker and Thomas Welsh down low, who are combining for 26.7 points and 18.7 rebounds per game. Then you have Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton on the perimeter, who can both fill it up from deep, but also be plenty active elsewhere.

When UCLA puts it all together, they are probably a Top 25 team, but when they can't defend and aren't hitting their shots, they are one of the worst in the Pac-12. Oregon hasn't lost a home game yet this year and will look to continue that run against the Bruins.

Predicted Score Oregon 84 UCLA 79

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