Pac 12 Semifinals Betting Picks: #4 Arizona Wildcats vs #1 UCLA Bruins

Pac 12 Semifinals
#4 Arizona Wildcats vs #1 UCLA Bruins
Friday, March 15, 2013, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: Pac 12 Network
MGM Grand Arena – Las Vegas, NV
Opening Line: Arizona -4
Current Line: Arizona -4
Opening Total: 141 1/2
Current Total: 143
Opening Money Line: Arizona -190 / UCLA +160
Current Money Line: Arizona -175 / UCLA +155

Arizona is a 4 point favorite against UCLA in the pac 12 semis Friday night in Vegas.
Arizona is a 4 point favorite against UCLA in the Pac 12 semis Friday night in Vegas.

The 24-8 UCLA Bruins won the Pac 12 title outright with a 13-5 record. The Bruins finished a game ahead of Oregon, Cal, and Arizona. UCLA beat #9 Arizona State in yesterday’s quarters 80-75. The Bruins were down 15 points in the second half before rallying.

The Bruins will now take on #4 seed Arizona in Friday’s semifinals. The 25-6 Wildcats went 12-6 in conference, and were seeded fourth by the tiebreaker. Arizona held off a late rally from #5 seed Colorado in the quarterfinals, and the Wildcats won 79-69.

UCLA leads the series 51-37 against Arizona. The two teams have each won 17 games in the last 34 meetings between the schools. UCLA is 3-2 against Arizona in Pac 12 tournament games.  The Bruins swept the season series 2-0 against Arizona this season. UCLA won in Tucson January 24 84-73. and March 2 in L.A. 74-69.

Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. The Wildcats have additional losses at Oregon, UCLA twice, California, and at USC. The Wildcats swept every other team in the Pac 12. Arizona beat Arizona St Saturday in Tucson 73-58 to close out the regular season. The Wildcats have non-conference wins over UTEP, Long Beach St, at Texas Tech, Southern Miss, at Clemson, Florida, Miami-(FL) and San Diego St (both in a tournament in Hawaii.) Arizona is 14-15 ATS and the total is 9-16-1 ATS this season.

Arizona is outscoring teams 73-63 this season. Arizona is #48 in scoring nationally. The Wildcats are shooting  45% from the field and 36.3% from 3 point range. Arizona is 30th in free throw shooting at 74.4% from the line. The Wildcats average 36.4 rebounds per game, and are 16th in rebounds allowed with 26.5 per game. Arizona opponents are shooting 41.6% from the field and 36.5% from 3 point range. The Wildcats average 14 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 13 turnovers a game.

Guard Mark Lyons averages 14.9 points, 3.0 assists, and 1.9 rebounds per game. Forward Solomon Hill averages 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Nick Johnson averages 11.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2 steals per game. Guard-forward Kevin Parrom averages 8.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Brandon Ashley averages 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Kaleb Tarczewski averages 6.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Grant Jarrett and Jordin Mayes make up the rest of the rotation.

UCLA is coached by Ben Howland. The Bruins have losses to Georgetown in Brooklyn, at home against Cal Poly and Oregon, to San Diego St in Anaheim, at Arizona St, Cal, Washington St and at home to USC in overtime. The Bruins have key wins over Indiana St, UC-Irvine, James Madison, Georgia in Brooklyn, Texas in Houston, Long Beach St, Fresno St, Missouri, Cal, Stanford twice, Oregon St, Washington St, and Washington and at Utah, Colorado and Arizona St, at USC, Arizona St, and at Washington. The Bruins have won 6 of their last 7 games, and 2 in a row.  UCLA is 14-17 ATS and the total is 11-14 this season.

UCLA is outscoring teams 75-69 this season. The Bruins are #26 in scoring. UCLA is shooting  45.7% from the field and shoot 34% from 3 point range. UCLA makes 72.4% of their free throws. The Bruins average 36.7 rebounds and give up 35.2 per game. Bruin opponents are shooting 42% from the field and 31.2% from 3 point range. UCLA averages 17 assists, 8 steals, 4 blocks, and 11 turnovers per game.

Guard/forward Shabazz Muhammad averages 18.2 points, and 5.2 rebounds a game. The freshman missed the first 3 games of the season due to being ineligible, but has been sensational since then. He will likely be an NBA lottery pick in June’s draft. Guard Jordan Adams averages 15 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. Forward Travis Wear averages 11.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1 block per game. Guard Kyle Anderson averages 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.8 steals. Guard Larry Drew II averages 7.7 points, 7.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Forward David Wear averages 7.1 points, and 5.1 rebounds per game. Guard Norman Powell averages 5.9 points, 2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Little used guard David Brown is questionable with an ankle injury.   Guard Nick Kazemi hasn’t played yet this season, and is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Arizona is 5-11 ATS against teams with winning records, and 2-5 after a cover. The under is 5-1 in the last 6 in this series, and the underdog has covered the last 4.

UCLA is 4-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 5-2 overall and against Pac 12 games, 7-19 in neutral site games, 3-11 after a cover, and 1-5 in Friday games. The Bruins are 5-1 ATS  in the last 6 against the Wildcats.

I am not sure why Arizona is favored in this game. In both games between UCLA and Arizona this season, the Bruins jumped out to big leads, and then held off late rallies from the Wildcats. UCLA should be at least a 2 point favorite and If you want to take a risk, you can take the Bruins on the money line. Still, Bruins +4 is a gift.

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