UCLA Bruins at Kansas Jayhawks
Thursday, 12/2/10, 9:00 PM EDT, TV: ESPN2
Opening Point Spread: Kansas -15.5
Current Betting Line: Kansas -16
UCLA opened its season with three victories and then ran into lots of trouble when heading East to play in the final rounds of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins spotted both Villanova and VCU an early 8-0 lead and wasn’t able to recover in both losing efforts. “Honestly, I don’t know what it is,” said Bruins forward Reeves Nelson. “We have to do something to fix it.” This is the 16th meeting between these two storied programs and the Bruins lead the series, 10-5. UCLA dropped last year’s meeting at Pauley Pavilion by a score of 73-61 on December 6, 2009, as the Jayhawks were the top-ranked team in the country at the time. The squad is 2-0 ATS against the Big 12 Conference over the past three years and the college basketball lines page has them as a double-digit underdog.
The Bruins must take care of the basketball if it has any shot of pulling off the upset in Thursday night’s game, committing 21 turnovers in their last contest and averaging 16.2 through the first five games. UCLA does have a 19-11 record against ranked teams the last five seasons, but dropped its first such game against Villanova two games ago. The program has a youthful look to it and experts believe it will take head coach Ben Howland time to get things right in Westwood again. “You have to go through things like this to come out and succeed in the end,” said point guard Lazeric Jones. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
Kansas has demonstrated it has a world of talent and is off to an impressive 6-0 start, which includes an 87-79 victory over Arizona in the Las Vegas final. The Jayhawks now return home to defend the nation’s longest home court winning streak and school-record 63 wins in Allen Fieldhouse. The team leads the Big 12 in scoring at 92 points per game, scoring margin at +35.3 and field goal percentage at an unbelievable 57.8 percent mark. Kansas is 3-0 ATS as a home favorite of 12.5 or more points this year and 10-10 ATS in this role over the last three campaigns.
The Jayhawks have won five of the last seven meetings in this series after dropping the first eight. Five of the 15 matchups have come in the NCAA Tournament and Kansas is winless in those contests. Heading into the 2010-11 season, the Big 12 holds a 20-16 advantage in all matchups against the Pac-10 in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. Kansas is 2-1 in the series and faced Arizona the first two years. The program is 8-4 against Pac-10 foes in the Bill Self era.
Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Bruins are 9-4 ATS following a SU loss, while the Jayhawks are 4-9 ATS versus the Pac-10.
Don’t miss out on a huge season and start letting the college basketball handicappers at Maddux Sports work for you. There’s plenty of Thursday action and its time to start heading to the winner’s circle!