UCLA vs. Arizona NCAAB Preview
Where: McKale Center – Tucson, AZ
When: Saturday, February 25, 2017, 8:15 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Writer’s Pick: Arizona Wildcats (-1.5)
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Betting on the UCLA Bruins (25-3, 12-3 Pac-12)
No. 5 UCLA extended its winning current streak to six games with an 87-75 win over Arizona State on Thursday. TJ Leaf had an excellent performance with 25 points and 9 boards, while Aaron Holiday had 17 points off the bench. The Bruins’ average margin of victory during their win streak is over 20 points, with their only win not in double-digits coming against Oregon.
Howver, they’ve gone just 2-4 against the spread during their win streak, and are only 4-12 ATS over their last 16 games.
The Bruins will be looking for revenge over the Wildcats, who dealt them one of their three conference losses in a 96-85 setback in January. Lonzo Ball led the way with a career-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting in that game, but the rest of his team shot just 22-of-56 (39 percent). Ball scored a conference-low 4 points against ASU, but you can always count on him to step it up offensively when he’s needed.
Despite that earlier loss, UCLA still has a very good record of covering the spread against Arizona. They’re 11-3 ATS in their last 14 meetings, but are just 7-7 straight-up.
Betting on the Arizona Wildcats (26-3, 15-1 Pac-12)
Not to be outdone, No. 4 Arizona has won five games in a row after it took care of USC, 90-77. Allonzo Trier had his way with the Trojan defense, as he exploded for 25 points to lead the Wildcats to the win. That win was the first time Arizona has covered at home during Pac-12 play. They had gone 0-6-1 in their previous seven attempts.
Starting center Dusan Ristic made his return against USC after missing the team’s 76-68 win over Washington with a sprained ankle. The junior big man had 10 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Wildcats also suffered another injury scare as Kobi Simmons looked to be in severe pain after getting colliding with a teammate. However, the freshman guard, who’s averaging nearly 11 points per game, should be suited up for the visit of UCLA.
Simmons starred in that huge upset win over the Bruins in Westwood as he scored a season-high 20 points. Fellow freshman Lauri Markkanen was also excellent with 18 points and 7 boards.
The presence of Ristic and the 6-5 Simmons along with the 7-foot Markkanen and the 6-5 Trier will be crucial for the Wildcats, who overwhelmed the Bruins with their size in their first meeting. They wont the rebounding battle, 42-33, and had 12 offensive rebounds.
Arizona’s size is once again too much for UCLA to handle as the Wildcats (-1.5) win, 87-81.
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