Which team will prevail on the college basketball betting lines? The UCLA Bruins might need to beat the Arizona Wildcats in order to get into the NCAA tournament.
The UCLA Bruins Can Win Because…
Their season comes down to this game, and it’s going to give them a level of urgency Arizona won’t match. Arizona is playing for a higher seed in this game, but UCLA is playing just to make the NCAA tournament, and that’s simply a more powerful source of motivation. It’s not Arizona’s fault; it’s just the way it is. UCLA has more on the line.
What should also be said about UCLA is that the Bruins are on a four-game winning streak heading into this game, and they comfortably defeated USC on Thursday in the Pac-12 tournament, winning a game with such noticeable ease (26 points) that they did not have to overextend their starters on short rest. UCLA should not have a problem being physically prepared to play this game.
Another source of hope for the Bruins lies in the reality that two of Arizona’s core rotation players struggled on Thursday in the Pac-12 tournament against California. Kaleb Tarczewski was 1 of 6 from the field and scored only four points in 24 minutes. He had been playing well, but on Thursday, he was brutal. Also, Gabe York was just 3 of 7 from the field in 27 minutes. Arizona might not fare that well if York isn’t a little more consistent on offense. Arizona can go through scoring droughts, and that’s how UCLA can not only stay close, but surge in front of the Wildcats and ultimately win this game.
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The Arizona Wildcats Can Win Because…
They are a better team than UCLA and can play great defense. The Wildcats won the outright Pac-12 championship this season, and they did so by doing a number of things, one of them being that they won in Utah on the Utes’ home court. No other Pac-12 team did that in 2015. Arizona can play such tough defense that it can win in tough environments, and it can also win when it’s not scoring very consistently. The Wildcats simply wore down California in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals on Thursday. They limited Cal to just 34.4-percent shooting, and allowed only four made three-pointers in 14 tries. Perhaps most impressive of all is that Arizona limited Cal to such low field goal shooting numbers while also giving up only eight free throw attempts. Cal just couldn’t find easy ways to score, and that sums up what Arizona is about. The Wildcats’ defense just doesn’t give you high-quality chances to score.
UCLA has been beating up on the likes of Washington, Washington State, and USC in recent weeks. The Bruins don’t play very well away from home against good teams. They beat USC on Thursday, but USC was the last-place team in the Pac-12. It’s going to be a very different kind of opponent for the Bruins here, one they might not be ready to play.
The Bruins badly need this game but Arizona is in a much stronger class than them. The Bruins have beaten some cupcakes to this point but their only hope here is that the Wildcats are half asleep. That’s unlikely. Take the Wildcats with your NCAA basketball picks as their defense will be too much in the end.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Arizona -11 at Bovada