College Basketball Pac 12 Semifinals Betting Picks: #6 Stanford Cardinal vs #2 UCLA Bruins

2014 Pac 12 Tournament – Semifinals
MGM Grand Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada

#6 Stanford Cardinal at #2 UCLA Bruins
Friday, March 14, 2014, 11:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: UCLA -3
Current Line: UCLA -3
Opening Total: 149 1/2
Current Total: 149
Opening Money Line: UCLA -160 / Stanford +140
Current Money Line: UCLA -150 / Stanford +130

UCLA is a 3 point favorite against Stanford in the Pac 12 semifinals Friday night in Vegas.
UCLA is a 3 point favorite against Stanford in the Pac 12 semifinals Friday night in Vegas.

The 24-8 UCLA Bruins will face the 21-11 Stanford Cardinal in Friday’s Pac 12 semifinals in Las Vegas. The winner will face either Arizona or Colorado in Saturday’s championship game. UCLA finished alone in second place in the conference with a 12-6 record. The Bruins beat #7 seed Oregon 82-63 in the quarterfinals yesterday. The Bruins are projected to be around a 4, 5, or 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford went 10-8 in the Pac 12 and was part of a 5 way tie for third. The Cardinal were seeded #6 by the tiebreaker. Stanford beat #11 seed Washington State 74-63 in the first round Wednesday and then routed #3 seed Arizona State 79-58 in the quarterfinals Thursday. Stanford is projected to make the NCAA Tournament as as a mid range seed.

UCLA leads the series against Stanford 139-92. the two teams split the season series with each winning at home. UCLA won in Los Angeles 91-74 January 23. Stanford returned the favor 83-74 February 22 at Stanford. This is the first time the two schools are meeting in the Pac 10/12 tournament since UCLA beat Stanford in the 2008 Championship game of the then Pac 10 Tournament.

Stanford is coached by Johnny Dawkins. The Cardinal have home losses to BYU, California,Arizona and Colorado, road losses to Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, Arizona and Arizona State, along with neutral site  losses to Pittsburgh and Michigan, both in Brooklyn. The Cardinal have won three straight games. Stanford has key home wins over Bucknell, Northwestern, UC-Davis, Cal Poly Washington State, Washington, Arizona State, USC, UCLA and Utah, along with road wins at Denver, Connecticut, Oregon, USC, Cal and Washington State. The Cardinal also have a neutral site win over Houston in Brooklyn. The Cardinal are 17-11-2 ATS and the total is 14-15-1.

Stanford is outscoring teams 74-68 this season. The Cardinal are shooting 46.6% from the field and 37.4% from 3 point range. Stanford is #62 or better in both categories nationally. The Cardinals make 70.3% of their free throws. Stanford opponents are shooting 41.7% from the field and 35.7% from 3 point range. The Cardinal average 35.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.7. Stanford averages 12.3 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.7 assists, 11.4 turnovers, 5.5 steals, and 2.8 blocks per game.

Guard Chasson Randle averages 19 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. Forward Dwight Powell averages 14.2 points, 7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1 block per game. Guard-forward Anthony Brown averages 13 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Forward Josh Huestis averages 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. Center Stefan Nastic averages 7.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 block per game. John Gage and Robbie Lemons will also get time in the rotation.  Guards Aaron Bright and Christian Sanders are both out for the season, along with forward Andy Brown.

UCLA is coached by Steve Alford. The Bruins have losses at Missouri, to Duke in New York City, Arizona, at Utah, at Oregon State, at Stanford, Oregon, and Washington State. UCLA has wins over Drexel, Oakland, Nevada and Northwestern in a tournament in Las Vegas, UC-Santa Barbara, Weber State, Alabama, USC twice, Arizona State, Colorado twice, Stanford, Cal twice, at Oregon, Utah, Oregon State, and at Washington. The Bruins are 19-12 ATS and the total is 14-16 this season.

UCLA is outscoring teams 82-71 this season. The Bruins are #11 in scoring nationally. UCLA is shooting 48.8% from the field and 39.6% from 3 point range. The Bruins are #15 in field goal percentage and #13 in 3 point shooting. UCLA is #21 in free throw shooting at 74.8% from the line. Bruin opponents are shooting 42.9% from the field and 34.6% from 3 point range. UCLA averages 35.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.7 per game. The Bruins average 18 assists, 11 turnovers, 10 steals and 3 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.7 assists, 15 turnovers, 5.8 steals, and 2.8 blocks per game.

Guard Jordan Adams averages 17.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. Guard/forward Kyle Anderson averages 14.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Guard Norman Powell averages 10.8 points, 3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Zach LaVine averages 10.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1 steal per game. Bryce Alford, Tony Parker, Travis Wear and David Wear all average at least 6.7 points per game. Guard Noah Allen is out indefinitely with an eye injury.

Stanford is 4-0 ATS after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 3-1-1 in Friday games, and after a straight up win, 10-4-1 after a cover, 1-3-2 in neutral site games, 1-4-1 overall and against Pac 12 teams, and 1-4 against teams with winning records. The over is 20-8 in the last 28 games in this series.

UCLA is 10-22 ATS in neutral site games, and 3-8 in Friday games. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Bruins have covered 7 of the last 8 times against the Cardinal.

Both of these teams are evenly matched. They both have some quality wins but also some head-scratching losses. Stanford played one of their best games of the season in their rout of Arizona State. UCLA also looked good against Oregon yesterday. I think the Bruins pull out a close game in the end.

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