There is a lot on the line when Oregon St. visits UCLA in this PAC 12 encounter tonight. Check inside to find out our college basketball free pick for this meeting.
Oregon St. vs. UCLA (-9) 10:00 ET PAC 12 TV
There is a lot on the line when Oregon St. visits UCLA in this PAC 12 encounter at 10:00 ET. Last year, UCLA split a pair of games with Oregon St., losing on the road (71-67) then winning a narrow decision at home (74-69). That was when UCLA was authoring a 28-9 SU season and a Sweet 16 appearance, under then 1st year HC Alford. Oregon St. was cruising to a typical 16-16 SU year which ended in the departure of Craig Robinson, after 6 years at the helm in Corvallis. As is the case so often in college basketball, fortunes can change quickly. Such is the case for these two teams this college basketball season. Let’s take a look into the specifics of the changes, which will show us why there is value on the Oregon St. side tonight.
Returning from last year’s 28 win UCLA team is just one returning starter. Gone are 3 first round NBA draft choices in Anderson, Adams and LaVine. Also departed are the valuable Wear twins. These 5 players were the heart and soul of the Bruins last year. Second year HC Alford is one of the most successful pointspread coaches in CBKB. He entered this year on a run of 137-91 ATS, including 23-13 ATS last season. But with the reputation of UCLA to uphold and the loss of 5 key players, the Bruins stood 8-7 SU, 4-11 ATS on a 5 game losing streak after their 71-39 loss at Utah on January 4th. Playing their home games at legendary Pauley Pavilion, where UCLA is 53-10 SU (11-1 SU TY) is all that has saved the Bruins. They have won and covered all 4 home games in PAC 12 play. That includes revenge victories over Colorado and Utah. That means the Bruins’ record on college basketball odds as home chalk this year is 6-3 ATS, lifting the recent mark of Alford coached teams in that role to 68-43 ATS. Along with Oregon St.’s record of 1-4 SU ATS on the conference trail (all losses by 12 or more points), the novice handicapper can kneejerk to the home/road dichotomy. That would be a mistake!
Oregon St. made a great hire, when they lured Wayne Tinkle, long-time coach at Montana, to Corvallis. There have been immediate changes in the fundamentals and the culture. Tonight, Oregon St. enters at 16-7 SU, 14-8 ATS for the year, including 7-4 SU in PAC 12 play, a full game better than UCLA. Oregon’s success has come on the defensive end of the court. Under Tinkle’s guidance, the Beavers are allowing just 56 PPG on 37% shooting, including 28% from the arc. With a positive rebound margin and positive TO margin, this team truly qualifies as a Defensive Dandy. In the first meeting this year (a 66-55 Oregon St. win), they did just that! Even when UCLA was a far better team, Oregon St. was able to achieve a split in the season series, losing by only 5 on this court.
The bottom line is that UCLA is a young and often times undisciplined team, a style that plays right into an Oregon St. team who takes care of the ball and controls the tempo. We gladly lineup with this Defensive Dandy for our NCAA Basketball pick, who has the better record and far better defense at this very generous price.
Free Pick: Take Oregon St.