Thursday NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day

Joe Catalano

Thursday, January 9, 2014 3:19 PM GMT

Thursday presents an inordinate amount of West Coast NCAA Basketball games in the AP top 25. We look to expose these matchups and go undefeated on the day with our free NCAA picks.

Make sure to check out our Live College Basketball Odds

#1 Arizona (15-0, 2-0) vs. UCLA (12-2, 1-0)

Their Best Start In 80 Years!

Arizona has earned their number one ranking and look to continue their winning ways as they face a tough UCLA on the road in the Pac-12’s toughest matchup of the season to date. This game pits the UCLA offense, which averages 87.2 points per game, against the Arizona defense, which allows just 54.9 points per game. A win here would be huge for either team.

Lockdown “D”

62 appears to be the magic number as the Wildcats have held opponents to 62 points or less in 13 out of 15 games. Arizona’s defense is so good that they held the Washington State Cougars to just 25 points on January 2nd; no that’s not a typo. This is the fewest amount of points that Washington State has scored in 75 years as the Wildcats held them to just 7 1st half points. When you hold an opponent to just 9 of 45 shooting from the field for an entire game, you’re doing something right and that’s what Arizona has been doing all season as they’ve allowed opponents to shoot just 36.6 % from the field all season long.

Something has to give as the Bruins are an offensive powerhouse which ranks 5th in the nation in points scored and 1st in the nation in field goal percentage.

The Bruins are coming into this game on a major high after a punishing 107-73 victory over USC. The combination of Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson were unstoppable as they combined to shoot 18 of 27 for 44 points. Home court advantage always helps in any sport, but how effective will Adams and Anderson be when they face the stifling defense of the Wildcats?

Arizona is by no means a weak offensive team with Nick Johnson and super freshman Aaron Gordon leading the way, but their defense will decide is the deciding factor if they come out of this game victorious.

Arizona has been dominant this season and I’m going to stick with the best team in the nation and lay the 2 points.

College Basketball Pick: Arizona -2 at Bet 365

[gameodds]14/254279/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

#22 Gonzaga (14-2, 2-0) vs. Portland (9-7, 1-3)

Owned

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have dominated their matchups with the Portland Pilots over the years as they’ve won 20 games in a row and 34 out of their last 35 games. Not only that, Gonzaga has won the last 4 meetings by an average of 25.5 points. Does Portland have a chance at home against a banged up Gonzaga team or is this game the blowout that we all expect it to be?

Gonzaga has been without 3rd leading scorer , Gary Bell, due to a broken hand, but that hasn’t stopped the Bulldogs as they’ve dominated WCC play. Senior center, Sam Dower has also played just 38 minutes in his last 5 games due to injuries, but the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are known for their offense, have won their most recent games by playing top notch defense. The Bulldogs have held the opposition to an average of 54 points per game in their last 4 games.

Aside from Kevin Pangos, players such as David Stockton and Drew Barham have been able to raise the level of their game and give the Bulldogs the assistance that they’ve needed while being short-handed. Now, Dower is back and had a relatively solid game against Pacific.

The Pilots have lost 3 out of their last 4 games and are coming off of a 72-63 home loss to St. Mary’s. Portland shot just 38% from the field. The Pilots have some offensive firepower in the form of Kevin Bailey (17.1 point per game) and Ryan Nicholas (13 points and 9.3 rebounds per game) but will it be enough?

Portland is an average team in that’s going through a slump at the moment, but injuries or not, I can’t get past Gonzaga’s pure dominance over Portland throughout the years. Take the Bulldogs and lay the points for your college basketball picks. Dower is back and that will be a definite positive in this game for Gonzaga bettors.

College Basketball Pick: Gonzaga -9 at Bet 365

[gameodds]14/254299/?r3=43-19-349/us&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]