- They call this “the best rivalry in the West”
- Arizona is 16-1, UCLA 13-2
- Wildcats are a -2.5 road favorite
The UCLA Bruins will take any advantage they can get ahead of their showdown with the Arizona Wildcats, and fans returning to Pauley Pavilion for the first time since December 1st can only help. UCLA has gone 3-1 playing in front of staff and family, suffering an OT loss to Oregon in that span which makes you wonder if it would have been different with a crowd. Either way, it’s a great time for the den to be packed when the red hot Wildcats come to town as -2.5 favorites.
Arizona Wildcats vs UCLA Bruins Schedule
- Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, California
- When: Tuesday, January 25th, 11:00 PM ET
- How to Watch: ESPN
Arizona Looks Dominant
A win on the road over the #8 team in the country definitely pads the resume, but there is nobody questioning the legitimacy of the 16-1 Wildcats right now. If anything we’re wondering how Tommy Lloyd’s team lost the one game that they did, falling 77-73 at then #19 Tennessee on December 19th.
The Wildcats may face a little bit of adversity on Tuesday night if second-leading scorer Azuolas Tubelis (15.1 ppg) misses a second straight game with an ankle injury that has him listed as day-to-day. The 6’11”, 245 pounder also grabs 6+ rebounds a game and is a solid rim protector so he would be missed.
Then again even if Tubelis cannot go, Arizona has shown they have the depth to not really miss him that much over the last game-and-a-half. He played just 7 minutes against Stanford and the Wildcats went on to win that game 85-57. Tubelis missed Sunday’s meeting with Cal and Arizona still prevailed 96-71 even in what could have been the ‘look ahead’ game to Tuesday’s meeting with UCLA.
Arizona still has the 3rd leading scorer in the Pac 12 in Bennedict Mathurin who averages 17.5 ppg. They also have some great size even without Tubelis as 7’1″ Christian Koloko had 19 points and 13 rebounds against Cal while 7’0″, 260 pound Oumar Ballo has averaged 17.5 ppg the last two.
Can UCLA Match Up?
There are no two ways around it, Arizona is flat-out huge. UCLA’s Johnny Juzang is the second-leading scorer in the Pac-12 so he can cancel out Mathurin, but how do the Bruins contend with that height especially if Tubelis does play? Six of UCLA’s top seven leading scorers are guards so Mick Cronin obviously likes going with the smaller lineup when he can. We may see 6’10”, 255-pound center Myles Johnson get some of his most extended playing time of the season.
Make no mistake Arizona is going to have to decide whether they want to go small as well otherwise UCLA can just run up and down the court when/if they do get rebounds and turnovers. That’s especially true with this group of guards that the Bruins have.
Juzang has gone for 23+ in four straight games and has good size at the guard position at 6’7. Jules Bernard (13.0 ppg) is also 6’7 and has 7+ rebounds in three of the last five. Jaime Jacquez (6’7″) had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead a big win at Marquette in December and Tyger Campbell has scored in double figures in 12 of 15 games this year.
January 25th College Basketball Picks
Will this game live up to the hype or is Arizona that dominant? This will be the Wildcats’ third straight road game and over the span of just five days so there could be some fatigue setting in. Arizona also really hasn’t had to burn up minutes in a 28 point win at Stanford and a 25 point win at Cal. The Wildcats are 6-0 in conference play – and their closes game was a 16-point win over Washington so the answer is Arizona is that dominant.
Arizona 84 – UCLA 74
- Arizona win
College Basketball Picks Against the Spread Today:
- Arizona -2.5