2014 NCAA Tournament South Region Picks: (4) UCLA Bruins vs. (13) Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
The UCLA Bruins closed its season in impressive fashion with three straight victories over NCAA Tournament teams in Oregon, Stanford and then-No. 4 Arizona. It heads into its second round play against Tulsa as 8.5 point favorites according to opening college basketball odds at Bovada.
UCLA finished 26-8 and held a 12-6 record in Pac-12 play. The Bruins generate a lot of offense, ranking 12th in the nation in points scored (81.8 per game). UCLA ranked 5th in the nation in assists (17.2 per game). 6’5″ sophomore guard Jordan Adams leads the team in scoring with 17.2 points per game, and he also averages 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Adams had 19 points, four assists and four rebounds in the victory over Arizona. He improved his shooting to 47.7 percent from the floor and 36.1 percent from three point range on 4.5 attempts per game.
Kyle Anderson is also expected to be a high pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He’s a versatile swingman and averaged 14.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. Anderson does a little bit of everything and is a light’s out shooter from deep, hitting 48.1 percent from behind the arc this season.
Adams and Anderson as a tandem are enough to bury teams, and the Bruins also get quality scoring contributions from Norman Powell (11.3 points per game), Zach LaVine (10) and Bryce Alford (8.1). The team shot 49 percent from the floor this year, and 39.1 percent from three-point range, so the scoring potential alone of UCLA makes the Bruins a chic pick for a deep run this year.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane finished 21-12 this season with a 13-3 record in Conference-USA play. The team began its season by losing six of its first seven, including bad losses to both Wichita State and Creighton. It is 1-3 against NCAA tournament teams, with the lone victory coming over Texas Southern on Dec 4. Still, the team closed the season on fire by winning its last 11 games.
Tulsa defeated Louisiana Tech 69-60 in the C-USA title game, behind 27 points from guard James Woodard. Woodard averaged 15.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game this season for Tulsa, as its leading scorer and rebounder. Rashad Smith contributes 12.1 points per game, but the Golden Hurricane have no other double-digit scorers. As a team Tulsa shot 44.2 percent from the floor and 32.5 percent from three-point range. Additionally, Tulsa is not good at the line and shot 67.5 percent this season. Expect UCLA to roll to a potential double-digit victory and cover this spread.
TUL Trends: UNDER 8-2 in last 10 non-conference games; UNDER 12-4 in last 16 overall; 16-7 ATS in last 23 Friday games.
UCLA Trends: OVER 19-8 in last 27 neutral site games.