Oddsmakers have this ball game as almost dead even. According to sportsbooks, Missouri is a slight 1.5 point betting favorite.
Against the Odds
UCLA knew what they were doing when they hired former Indiana superstar basketball player and head coach, Steve Alford. Alford has been the perfect fit for the the Bruins thus far, but now he faces his first real challenge. Missouri has won 23 consecutive games on their home floor. Do we go with the trend or take Alford and the Bruins as our NCAA basketball pick?
The Bruins had a little scare against an inferior UC Santa Barbara team but managed to be too much in the end as they defeated the the Gauchos 89-76.
Jordan Adams continues to be a consistent scoring machine as UCLA’s leading scorer led the Bruins with another 20 plus point performance to go along with 14 trips to the free throw line. Missouri will surely be tested by Adams who has spectacular size for a guard and can play both ends of the floor. Adams is coming off of a 4 steal game against the Gauchos, and pick-pocketed Nevada on 6 separate occasions. Quite simply, he’s a “hand full.”
Kyle Anderson is another player to watch in this game. He’s been a beast this season with near triple-double stats on the season and his offensive outputs have steadily increased as the season has gone on. In his last 4 games, Anderson is averaging 18 points, 7.5 assists, and 8.8 rebounds per game. This is a player with Magic Johnson-like numbers that can also play the point guard position at 6 foot 9 like Magic.
Look Out, Duke
Missouri has a streak of their own against non-conference opponents at home and the winning streak is up to 78 wins in a row. In their last game, Missouri saw their 25 point lead against West Virginia trimmed down to 7 points with a minute to go, but the Mountaineers waited too late to make a run in a 80-71 Missouri victory.
The Tigers will give the Bruins some trouble with one of the best one two punches in college basketball in juniors Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown. Thus far, the guard combination has accounted for almost half of Missouri’s points while both players shoot are 50% shooters from the field. Clarkson has had 4 consecutive games of 20 or more points and while not being a 3-point threat, is 35 for 58 from the field in that period of time.
Missouri will need a significant contribution from their 3rd best player, Earnest Ross. The senior has been hot as of late, averaging 22 points and 8 rebounds in his last 2 games. Ross is another outstanding defensive Tigers defender and he’ll need to continue to play well in order for Missouri to keep their home winning streak intact.
This game should go down to the wire and although UCLA might be the better team, we agree with the NCAA basketball odds. Look for Missouri to find a way to maintain their home winning streak in what should be a very exciting game.
Pick- Missouri ML at Bet 365