#582 University of Colorado Boulder Buffaloesvs.#581 University of California, Los Angeles Bruins
Thursday, January 1 2017, at 11:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes
UCLA Bruins (16-1 SU, 10-7 ATS, 9-7-1 O/U) at Colorado Buffaloes (10-6 SU, 5-10 ATS, 4-11 O/U)
When and Where: Thursday, Jan. 12., Coors Events Center, Boulder, Col., 11pmET
Line: UCLA -7.5
UCLA has won three straight games since falling at Oregon at the buzzer, 89-87. On Sunday, they took care of Stanford at home, winning 89-75. Colorado has lost three straight (all on the road), including an 82-73 defeat at Arizona on Saturday. UCLA is 3-1 in the Pac-12, while Colorado is 0-3.
On Jan. 5 against Cal, star freshman guard Lonzo Ball was held to 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting and 1-of-7 from 3-point range. He bounced back from a rare mediocre game to score 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting against Stanford on Sunday. Ball, who leads the nation in assists per game at 8.0, dished out eight dimes, blocked two shots and grabbed six boards. Senior guard Bryce Alford added 17 points on 4-of-5 3-point shooting to lead the Bruins. UCLA shot a sizzling 50 percent from the field and 11-of-20 from beyond the arc. The won the game by 14 over Stanford but it could have been more had they not turned the ball over 16 times. Defensively, they held the Cardinal to just 37.8 percent shooting.
Freshman T.J. Leaf leads the Bruins with 17.4 point per game and 9.1 rebounds, while shooting 65.4 percent from the floor and 48.6 percent from beyond the arc. Alford adds 16.8 points and shoots 44.9 percent from 3-point range. UCLA ranks third in the nation in points per game, third in three-point shooting (3rd) and second in field goal percentage (53.4%). They allow 74.1 points per game and 40.5 percent from the field.
Arizona knows how to clamp down on top scorers. Colorado leading scorer Derrick White (15.8ppg, 4.1apg) was held to just seven points after scoring 35 points two nights earlier at Arizona State. Xavier Johnson led the Buffs with 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting, adding six rebounds. Wesley Gordon added 16 points and nine rebounds. Colorado shot 43.5 percent from the field and outrebounded the Wildcats, 38-29. But the Buffs also turned the ball over 15 times and forced just 11 turnovers.
Colorado averages 74.2 points per game and shoots 43.7 percent from the field (32.8% 3pt). They allow 69 points per game and 40 percent from the field (32% 3pt). Johnson is second on the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game (5.6 rebounds) and shoots 50 percent from the floor.
College Basketball Trends:
UCLA has been overvalued since they beat Kentucky back in early December. They haven’t covered a game since Dec. 17. Colorado should be sky-high to finally play a conference game at home.
UCLA is one of the highest scoring teams in the nation. Colorado has one of the better defenses in the Pac-12. For Colorado to win this game, they have to control the tempo. In the last three games between these teams, all three have gone under. The Buffs are 9-2 Under their last 11 overall games.
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Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!