Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #8 Arizona vs. #4 UCLA - Taking Vegas



Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #8 Arizona vs. #4 UCLA

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
March 4, 2023
Photo by: Mike Mattina - Arizona Athletics

#8 Arizona Wildcats vs #4 UCLA Bruins (3/4 @ 10:00 PM EST)

Spread: UCLA -6.0
Money Line: UCLA -240 / Arizona +220
Total: 150.5

Overview and Betting Info

The #8 Arizona Wildcats (25-5) will be heading to LA to take on the UCLA Bruins (26-4) for Saturday’s marquee matchup. These teams met in Tucson in January with the Wildcats winning a 58-52 slugfest. UCLA has already won the Pac 12 and Arizona has locked in second place, but a shot at a top seed for March Madness is on the line.

Arizona is 14-15-1 against the spread this season but have failed to cover three of their last five games. He’s gone over the total 16 times and have done so in seven of their last ten games.

UCLA is 17-12-1 versus the spread and have covered three of their last four games. The have gone over the total 14 times, seven of which came at home.

#8 Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats got back on track on Thursday with a critical win at USC. They have now won 10 of their last 12 games and are still in contention for a one seed for the Big Dance. Their offense has been incredible, ranking fifth in the country in scoring (83.5 PPG), seventh in field goal percentage (49.4%), twenty-fifth in three-point percentage (37.7%), and second in assists (19.6 APG). The defense has been a different story, ranking last in the Pac 12 in opponent scoring (71.6 PPG), fifth in field goal percentage (41.0%), sixth in three-point percentage (33.0%), sixth in steals (6.3 SPG), and eighth in blocks (3.4 BPG). The Wildcats are 4-2 over their last six road games, with losses at Stanford and Oregon.

The Wildcats are led by Azuolas Tubelis (19.7 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.1 SPG) and Oumar Ballo (14.2 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.3 BPG). Tubelis is one of the country’s best players, leading the Pac-12 in scoring and rebounding, and is fourth in field goal percentage (57.6%). His scoring dipped a bit over the last few weeks, but he bounced back on Thursday with 25 points and 10 rebounds against USC. Tubelis didn’t shoot well against UCLA in January but finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Ballo has been another elite big man in the conference, ranking second in rebounding and first in field goal percentage. His play has taken a dip of late, as he is averaging 10.2 points and has just three blocks over his last five games. Ballo was a big reason for their win against UCLA, with 16 points, eight rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.

Arizona has a solid trio of guards to support their star big men. The group includes Courtney Ramey (11.0 PPG, 1.1 SPG), Kerr Kriisa (10.6 PPG, 5.4 APG), and Pelle Larsson (10.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG). Ramey is a sharpshooter (41.4% 3PT) and an aggressive defender. He has been great over their last five games, averaging 15.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and making 43.4% of his threes. Kriisa is another dangerous shooter, but his field goal percentage drops 10 points when playing on the road. He makes up for it by leading the conference in assists and helping run this elite offense. Larsson is coming off one of his worst games but is still averaging 53.3% from the field over his last five. Always watch out for Cedric Henderson Jr (8.0 PPG), as the guard is third in the conference in three-point percentage (41.6%).

#4 UCLA Bruins

The Bruins come into Saturday having won nine straight. It has been a crucial run after they dropped back-to-back games to USC and Arizona. They looked dominant on Thursday against a good ASU defense, winning 79-61 after dominating the second half. The offense has been good, ranking second in the Pac-12 in scoring (73.9 PPG) and field goal percentage (46.3%) while ranking fourth in three-point percentage (35.2%) and assists (14.5 APG). Their defense has been elite, ranking sixth in opponent scoring (59.7 PPG). They are first in the Pac-12 in steals (8.7 SPG) and fourth in blocks (3.1 BPG), field goal percentage (40.5%), and three-point (30.9%) percentage. The Bruins have not lost at home this season.

The Bruins are led by a trio of stars in Jaime Jaquez Jr (17.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.5 SPG), Jaylen Clark (13.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.6 SPG), and Tyger Campbell (12.7 PPG, 4.7 APG, 1.2 SPG). Jaquez is fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring and is one of the hottest players in the country, averaging 19.6 points in February and scoring 26 in his lone March game. He’s also a talented defender and has a steal in eight of his last nine games (10 total). He made just 29% of his shots versus Arizona but expect that to change on Saturday as he makes 51% of his shots at home this season. Clark had one of his worsts shooting performances against the Wildcats but was able to add 12 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals. The guard’s scoring dipped a bit of late, but he scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against ASU on Thursday. Clark also leads the conference in steals and has nine in his last five games. Campbell has kicked it into a higher gear of late, averaging 17.3 points and 2.7 steals over his previous three games.

Amari Bailey (9.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG) and David Singleton (9.2 PPG, 1.1 SPG) support UCLA’s trio of stars. Bailey is a physical guard making 47.5% of his shots from the field, but he’s coming off his worst game of the season, where he went 0-6 with seven turnovers. He was unavailable in their first game against Arizona, so if he can bounce back Saturday, it will be a massive boost for the Bruins. Singleton is a solid shooter and defender, though he has just two steals in his last five games. He is making 42.5% of his threes but has not made more than two in a game since January 26th. Singleton went 0-5 against Arizona and may be in for another long night as his shooting numbers drop significantly when playing at home.

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