Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
|UCLA Bruins||+6.5 (+100)||O 148.5 (+100)|
|Arizona Wildcats||-6.5 (-120)||U 148.5 (-120)|
This will be a very interesting game because these teams last played each other on January 25. UCLA has won their two games since then, while Arizona has won their one game against Arizona State. The only significant difference between these two games is the location; the first game was in Los Angeles, and this game is in Tucson.
The UCLA Bruins are putting together another great season. They have only lost one conference game and are showing that they know how to win. The Bruins have a handful of tall guards in Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Jules Bernard, and Jaylen Clark. Clark has missed the last few games and will miss this one with a head injury. The Bruins forwards and center have a much smaller offensive impact on the game. They will probably be offensively quiet again in this game against Arizona’s big forwards and centers.
The Arizona Wildcats are more balanced than the Bruins. Their top three scorers are a guard (Bennedict Mathurin), forward (Azoulas Tubelis), and center (Christian Koloko). Their offensive game plan is much more designed around big men than UCLA’s offensive game plan. They have the advantage of playing at home in this rivalry game and should squeak out a victory against UCLA.
Arizona Wildcats beat UCLA Bruins 74-69. UCLA Bruins cover, Under 148.5 points.
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|Mick Cronin||Head Coach||Tommy Lloyd|
|16-2 (8-1, 1st in PAC-12)||Standing||17-2 (7-1, 2nd in PAC-12)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Johnny Juzang (18.1)||PPG||Bennedict Mathurin (17.2)|
|Jaime Jaquez Jr. (5.3)||RPG||Christian Koloko (7.5)|
|Tyger Campbell (4.5)||APG||Kerr Kriisa (5.1)|
|Tyger Campbell (1.3)||SPG||Dalen Terry (1.2)|
|Myles Johnson (1.6)||BPG||Christian Koloko (3.2)|
|Myles Johnson (.647)||FG%||Oumar Ballo (.649)|
|Tyger Campbell (.420)||3P%||Kim Aiken Jr. (.563)|
UCLA beat Arizona handily in their first matchup, so they know what it takes to beat them again. However, Arizona is probably more prepared this game. UCLA has bigger guards than Arizona and smaller big men than Arizona, so the guards need to crash the boards and grab more rebounds than they usually do. The Bruins also need to find more open shots through extra ball movement.
Arizona has two seven-footers on their roster, and UCLA has none. Arizona’s two seven-footers, Christian Koloko and Oumar Ballo, will make life harder for UCLA’s big men to grab boards, so UCLA’s guards need to pick up the slack. This should not be incredibly difficult; Johnny Juzang, Jules Bernard, and Jaime Jacques Jr. average a combined 15.3 rebounds per game. As good as that is, they need to grab 20 to 25 rebounds this game.
The Bruins are not a great passing team. They average 14.3 assists per game, not even good enough for top-100 in the country. Other than guard Tyger Campbell, who averages 4.5 assists per game, no other Bruin is getting more is averaging more than three assists. That will simply not work against a team like Arizona. The Bruins always need to be looking to make the extra pass to the open man. That could be the difference in this game.
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I do not know who has the better roster, but Arizona has the edge in this game. This will be a close game, so Arizona has to guard the outside shot and grab offensive rebounds.
Arizona will likely shut down UCLA’s big men on the offensive side. UCLA’s big men are not very offensively oriented and have a size disadvantage. Since that is the case, UCLA will look to the outside shot a lot. The Arizona defense has to communicate and work well together to guard the outside shot. If they do, they will limit UCLA’s scoring.
Arizona should have no problem grabbing defensive rebounds. However, offensive rebounds are harder to come by. The Arizona big men need to crash the glass on the offensive side and grab as many rebounds as possible. If they do, they will create a lot more scoring chances.
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Guard Tyger Campbell is not the leading scorer on this UCLA squad, but he is the best passer and has the most steals. Typically, I would not name him the Bruins Key Player, but his skill set fits this game well.
Campbell averages 11.1 points per game on 43.8% shooting from the field. He also shoots well from behind the three-point line at 42%. Campbell will be a crucial part of UCLA’s ball movement, shooting, and defense in this game. He will be expected to find the open man consistently, hit open shots, and create turnovers. If he does those few things, he will give his team an excellent chance to win.
Center Christian Koloko is having a great season. He averages 13 points and 7.5 rebounds on 63% shooting from the field.
Koloko will not have a very difficult time on defense against UCLA. That is why he must excel on offense. He will likely be a focal point on the offense, so he needs to score a lot.
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|No. 3 UCLA vs No. 7 Arizona Information|
|What||No. 3 UCLA vs No. 7 Arizona|
|Where||McKale Memorial Center, Tucson, Arizona|
|When||Thursday, February 3, 8:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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