UCLA get a gift in a must win situation as they face Washington St. UCLA is a 14 point betting favorite and with a 17-12 record and 9-7 in inter conference play, they are certainly on the bubble.
Tip-off is set for 9:30 pm tonight at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. This game can be seen on Fox Sports 1. According to 5 Dimes Sportsbook the Bruins are a 14 point NCAA basketball odds betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 149.5.
Backs Against the Wall
We have a lot of players like Bryce Alford in this game that like to shoot the basketball, whether it be an intelligent or unintelligent shot and the betting total is justified. UCLA doesn't need to look great, they just need to win this game or their season could be over with the exception of winning the Pac-12 Tournament.
Speaking of Bryce Alford, he continues to be a perplexing basketball player. He definitely comes from good stock and has shown glimpses of greatness, but his lack of consistency and efficiency have been a disappointment to the UCLA fans.
Alford had a monster performance against Arizona as he shot 7 for 13 from the field and 3 for 7 from beyond the arc for 22 points in a 57-47 loss to the Wildcats. He then came back with a 7 point game against a much inferior Washington team. UCLA did win that game and Alford had 7 assists and 6 rebounds. Maybe he needs to be more selective with his shooting and more of an unselfish player. Regardless, tonight should be a bit easier for the sophomore point guard out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
His Last Chance
UCLA leading scorer, Norman Powell, might be feeling a little bit of urgency to win these final few games and make an impression on the NCAA Voting Committee as he's coming off of a huge 24 point, 7 rebound performance against Washington.Powell is a very efficient shooter, unlike Alford, that's not going to make mistakes and plays exceptional defense. Look for UCLA to try to put Washington State away early, led by the senior leadership of Norman Powell.
Inter-conference play has really killed the Cougars season as they've lost 8 out of their last 11 games, They're coming off of a 70-66 victory over USC, but the level of competition is much higher in this game as they face a desperate team in UCLA.
For the Cougars to have any chance in this game, senior guard, Davonte Lacy, must have a big game. Lacy leads the Cougars at 17.2 points per game. Lacy isn't an exceptional shooter, but he's very consistent and reliable and those traits can turn a decent player into a good player, especially on a poor team. I look for the senior to play well as WSU will look to play the spoiler role.
Washington State will look to control the boards with sophomore Josh Hawkinson. Hawkinson is averaging a double-double on the season and in his last 2 games, is averaging 14 points and 13.5 rebounds per contest. Hawkinson will be a key figure in this game as the Trojans will need those second opportunities to compete with UCLA.
I look for UCLA to come out strong in this game. Their season is virtually on the line and there can be no slip ups. Add them to your college basketball picks tonight and look for them to mop up the Pauley Pavilion floor with Cougars.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: UCLA -14 at 5Dimes