Pac 12 Championship Betting Picks: UCLA Bruins vs #4 Arizona Wildcats

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

#2 UCLA Bruins vs #1 Arizona Wildcats
Saturday, March 15, 2014, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: Arizona -6
Current Line: Arizona -5 1/2
Opening Total: 137 1/2
Current Total: 138
Opening Money Line: Arizona -250 / UCLA +210
Current Money Line: Arizona -250 / UCLA +210

Arizona is a 5.5 point favorite against UCLA in the Pac 12 Championship Saturday in Las Vegas.
Arizona is a 5.5 point favorite against UCLA in the Pac 12 Championship Saturday in Las Vegas.

The 30-3 Arizona Wildcats and 25-8 UCLA Bruins have been the two best teams in the Pac 12 all-season. It is appropriate that the two rivals meet for the Pac 12 Championship Saturday in Las Vegas. The Wildcats won the Pac 12 regular season title outright with a 15-3 record over the 12-6 Bruins. Arizona is pretty much locked into one of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament whether they win or lose this game. The Wildcats beat #8 seed Utah 71-39 in the quarterfinals Thursday, and then beat #5 Colorado 63-43 in yesterday’s semifinals.

UCLA is projected to be around a 5 or 6 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bruins beat #7 Oregon 82-63 in the quarterfinals and then routed #6 Stanford 84-59 in the semifinals last night.

UCLA leads the series against Arizona 52-38. The Wildcats won the only meeting this season 79-75 in Los Angeles January 9 to snap a 3 game losing streak against the Bruins. UCLA beat Arizona in the semifinals of last year’s Pac 12 tournament.

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 20-12 ATS and the total is 14-17 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.

Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. Arizona has losses at California,  Arizona State and Oregon. The Wildcats have key wins over Cal Poly, Long Beach State, at San Diego State, Rhode Island, Drexel and Duke in the pre-season NIT in New York City, Texas Tech, UNLV, New Mexico State, at Michigan, Washington State, Washington, at UCLA and USC, Arizona State, Colorado twice, Utah twice , Cal, Stanford twice, Oregon and Oregon State twice (including 74-69 Wednesday in Corvallis). Arizona is 20-12 ATS and the total is 9-20-2 this season.

Arizona is outscoring teams 73-58 this season. The Wildcats are #3 nationally in points allowed. Arizona is shooting 46.8% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #53 nationally in field goal percentage.  Arizona makes 66.1% of their free throws and are #295 nationally out of 351 teams in that category. Wildcat opponents are shooting 37.9% from the field and 31.4% from 3 point range. Arizona is #6 in field goal defense and #44 in 3 point defense. The Wildcats average 39.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.6. Arizona is #19 in rebounding and #6 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Wildcats average 15.2 assists, 10.6 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.2 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 4.6 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.

Guard Nick Johnson averages 16 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Aaron Gordon averages 12.2 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Both Johnson and Gordon are on the Wooden and Naismith Awards semifinal list. Forward Brandon Ashley averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1 assist per game. He broke his foot in the Cal loss and is gone for the season. Center Kaleb Tarczewski averages 10.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1 block per game. Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Guard T.J. McConnell averages 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Guard Gabe York averages 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

UCLA is 4-1 ATS in neutral site games, 5-2 after a straight up win, 9-4 against teams with winning records, and 2-6 in Saturday games. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games in this series. The Bruins are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 against the Wildcats.

Arizona is 6-1 ATS after allowing less than 50 points, and in neutral site games, 4-1 after  a cover, 6-2 overall, in Pac 12 games, and against teams with winning records. The under is 6-2 in the last 8 games in this series.

This game comes down to Arizona’s dominant defense against UCLA’s prolific scoring. These two teams played in the high 70’s the last time they met but that was in early January. Both teams have cruised into the finals with two blowouts. UCLA keeps it close but the Wildcats simply have too much.

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