Scoreboard Buster In LA When Bruins Host The Wildcats

UCLA Bruins players in bench

Saturday, January 21, 2017 3:28 PM GMT

An underdog on the NCAA basketball odds despite a perfect conference record, the Arizona Wildcats take aim at their first road win at UCLA in more than three years.

What was already a crucial matchup in Westwood between the No. 3 UCLA Bruins and No. 14/13 Arizona was made even more interesting Friday when it was learned the Wildcats would have one of their best players on the floor for the first time this season.

One of three matchups on Saturday pitting ranked teams, Pauley Pavilion is the site for the 4 PM (ET) contest that will be carried by CBS. BetOnline opened the Bruins at -5½, that spread now sitting -6, and 159 is the total.

Allonzo Trier is expected to suit up and play for Arizona after missing the Wildcats' first 19 games for a failed drug test. The sophomore guard won his appeal of the decision and has been practicing with the team, but wasn't allowed to play until his drug test came back completely clean. The 6-5 Trier averaged nearly 15 PPG last year as a freshman and should provide an immediate spark to an Arizona offense that is averaging 75.1 PPG this season.

Bruins Best In Nation In Offensive Efficiency

A perfect conference start continued for Arizona (17-2 straight up, 12-7 against the spread) in Thursday's 73-66 win crosstown at USC. The Wildcats struggled a bit in the first half when they converted just 11-of-26 field goal attempts and turned it over eight times. They still managed to build a 10-point lead heading into the break thanks to the Trojans really stinking things up.

UCLA (19-1 SU, 12-8 ATS) continues to be an offensive machine, but the Bruins are struggling when it comes to beating the NCAA basketball odds. Steve Alford's squad has managed to cover just two of its first seven Pac-12 contests, each time as the favorite from -1 to -21. The Bruins are coming off a win on the court and at the window Thursday with a 102-80 decision vs. Arizona State, Isaac Hamilton pouring in a season-high 33 with an impressive 9-for-14 performance from 3-point land. UCLA has averaged over 96 points the last three games, two of those on the road, and continues to lead the nation in field goal shooting (53.6 FG%) and 3-point success (44.1%).

'Cats Look To Extend Recent Success In Rivalry

This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the schools after splitting last year's matchups, each side winning on their home floors. UCLA leads the series 54-41, winning 33 of 47 tilts in LA, but Arizona has won three of the last four. The Bruins, who are 11-0 at home this year, posted a mild 87-84 upset at Pauley a year ago as 3 point underdogs, and the last two games here have gone 'over' the totals.

Just how much Trier plays today remains to be seen, and it might be his contribution on defense that makes more of a difference than any points he scores. The Bruins have been held under 80 points just once this season, but have also shown signs of not being able to stop their opposition. I'm liking the 'over' for my free college basketball pick this afternoon.

Free NCAAB pick: Over 159

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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