Free NCAAB Picks - Stanford Cardinal vs UCLA Bruins

UCLA Bruins players gathered around

Sunday, January 8, 2017 5:53 PM GMT

The UCLA Bruins are indeed the "Best in the West" and they look to keep their #4 ranking with a victory over the Stanford Cardinal as the 15-1 Bruins square off against the disappointing 8-7 Stanford Cardinal at Pauley Pavillion tonight.

   

Stanford Cardinal vs UCLA Bruins

 

Storybook Season

It's been a storybook season for the Bruins, who are led by freshman T.J. Leaf as they attempt to navigate this chapter of the story called "inter-conference play". The tricky thing about inter-conference play is that these teams are well familiar with each other and even though it's not likely, any team can beat any team on any given day.

In this case, a win for Stanford (which isn't likely), would totally change the direction of their season and they have 40 minutes to prove it. That said, it doesn't seem likely as the Bruins, who have wins over Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio State to their credit, have had a fairly strong schedule. Their only loss came at the hands of Oregon, 89-87 and the Bruins quickly bounced back with double-digit wins over Cal and Oregon State.

 

UCLA Team Depth

This is a UCLA team that's been able to win, averaging 93 points per game and it's due to the great mixture of depth on their team with freshman T.J. Leaf (17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 47.1% 3-point shooting) and Lonzo Ball (14.3 points, 8 assists, 5.6 rebounds) and seniors Bryce Alford (16.8 points, 43.4% 3-point shooting and Isaac Hamilton (14.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists).

The depth has helped as Hamilton has been struggling mightily, averaging just 2.3 points per game in his last 3 games while shooting a dismal 1 of 24 from the field. From a star player, it doesn't get much worse than that and the Bruins need their "Big 4" to be clicking during tournament time, but in a game against Stanford, this is an opportunity for Hamilton to regain his composure as the Bruins are double digit favorites.

The one thing that could be said about Stanford is that they're better than their record indicates. They've lost 6 out of their last 8 games, but 4 of those losses came against AP top 25 teams. When considering taking the Cardinal, the thing that concerns me is that they've been getting blown out. 

I expect a slight bounce back effort from Hamilton, but more importantly, look for UCLA to make a statement with a big win.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: UCLA Bruins -21 

Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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