NCAA Basketball Picks: Take UCLA -7 to Wear Down Frail Pepperdine

David Lawrence

Thursday, November 19, 2015 1:53 PM GMT

The Pepperdine Waves meet the UCLA Bruins in what could be a very competitive game. However, the injury report has moved the NCAA basketball odds against Pepperdine. 

Momentum
The Waves won their most recent game at home against a non-Division I opponent. The previous game on Friday, they lost on the road to a Fresno State team which is not expected to do a whole lot in the Mountain West. The Waves fell, 69-66. One of the immediate matters of interest in this college basketball season is how the 30-second shot clock and adjusted points of emphasis on body contact and fouling will affect games. Pepperdine was good last season in terms of playing defense and forcing more talented teams such as Gonzaga and BYU to play their style of game, which was slower and more oriented toward the paint. Giving up 69 points to Fresno State represents a poor defensive performance, one the Waves will hope to compensate for here with a better effort. The Waves hope to rattle UCLA’s offense and dominate the glass, so that the Bruins will struggle to score 60 points on their home court. If Pepperdine can play this game in the low 60s, it will be more upbeat about its chances of winning.

UCLA blew a 13-point lead to Monmouth last Friday night in a loss at home. The Bruins led Cal Poly by 15 before that game became very close on Sunday. Cal Poly took a one-point lead before UCLA was able to redirect the momentum of the game and take it back down the stretch. The Bruins shot too many threes and took too many shots without moving the ball around the perimeter. Sharing the ball and working for better shots are the Bruins’ big challenges. UCLA has to know what it wants to do on its offensive possessions. Since the shot clock is five seconds shorter than it was last season, it’s proving to be a real adjustment for the Bruins in terms of making quick and effective decisions on offense.

 

Home-Away Trends
Pepperdine is playing its second road game of the season. It lost the first to Fresno State late last week. UCLA lost its first home game of the season against Monmouth, and won its second one against Cal Poly this past Sunday.

 

Injuries
Pepperdine guard A.J. Lapray is questionable for this game with a hip injury. Center Ryan Keenan is questionable with a foot injury. Guard Shawn Olden is questionable for this game with an ankle injury.

UCLA forward Gyorgy Goloman is out indefinitely with a leg injury.

 

What’s The Pick?
The NCAA Basketball odds began with UCLA as a seven-point favorite and has stayed there. The injuries to Pepperdine loom as a major factor. Having three players who could contribute to the team being unavailable should be able to give UCLA the chance to wear down Pepperdine as the night goes along. Take UCLA with your NCAA Basketball picks.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: UCLA -7 at The Greek

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