College Basketball Pick
UCLA is reeling and a road Game at Arizona is not the antidote. The Bruins have lost Four of their last six Games, sit at 4-6 in Conference play (13-10 overall) and are coming off a beat down against USC. At this point, it’s hard to see UCLA making the NCAA Tournament, unless they make a big push in the next month. That would start with a win at Arizona, making it a sweep over the Wildcats.
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However, the odds of that are extremely slim. Arizona is on a three-Game win streak, having taken down both Washington schools in impressive back-to-back road wins. In addition, the Wildcats just got back stud freshman Allonzo Trier, who averages 14.3 points per Game and missed the previous seven Games.
UCLA won this Game the first time around by hitting shots, and that’s about the only way to beat this Arizona defense. The Bruins shot 11-of-22 from deep and over 50% from the field as Bryce Alford led the way with 25 points. The usual guys also produced with Isaac Hamilton and Aaron Holiday each with six assists, but also 14 and 15 points, respectively. Tony Parker had a solid Game in the paint with a double-double.
The big difference in this Game is of course home-cOurt advantage. The Bruins have lost two straight Games by at least 14 points on the road and are 1-4 away from home in Pac-12 play. And then you have Arizona, who regularly blows out teams in Tucson (outside of that Oregon loss).
It’s hard to see UCLA putting up 87 points again considering the Wildcats haven’t allowed more than 72 in their previous three Games. The Bruins had one of their best shooting Games of the season in the previous matchup and it’s doubtful they’ll do that again. But on the other end, Arizona shouldn’t have any trouble scoring with UCLA allowing 77 points per Game.
Ryan Anderson dropped 15 and 15 in the first Game and he could be in for more this time around. Anderson has been even better as of late, averaging more than 20 points and 12 boards over the last Four. Kaleb Tarczewski also notched a double-double in that first Game so it’s expected the Wildcats will attack the paint again in this one. How much Arizona wins by will depend on Gabe York, Kadeem Allen and Trier. Those three really struggled from the field in the first Game, and that was part of the reason for the loss.
The Wildcats will put a bigger focus on limiting what UCLA does on the perimeter with Alford and Hamilton and if those guys aren’t knocking down shots at an above average rate, the Bruins will be all but done for.
Arizona is still a couple Games back of Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and are looking to run the table now that Trier is back in tow. As for the Bruins, nothing too positive looks to be in their future unless they can pull out a huge upset and sweep the Wildcats.
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