Finally, after weeks of COVID-19 forced postponements of some enticing Pac-12 matchups, there is a showdown of conference heavyweights as No, 3 Arizona travels to play No. 7 UCLA on Tuesday night.
The top three teams in the conference are a combined 25-2 at home while the three teams at the bottom of the standings are 0-15 on the road. The pecking order is a little different, but the four teams with the best odds to win the Pac-12 coming into the season happen to hold down the top four slots in the conference standings.
Game of the Week
Arizona Wildcats at UCLA Bruins
- Date, time, TV: Tuesday, 11 p.m. ET, ESPN
What game were you expecting to be leading the way? Will East Coast folks be staying up for this one? Let’s hope so because it could be one to remember.
Looking for individual talent? Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin (+1200) and UCLA’s Johnny Juzang (+4500) are two of the top national player of the year candidates from the conference. Juzang is the second-leading scorer in the conference at 18.3 points per game while Mathurin comes in at No. 3 at 17.5.
How about team play? Well, Arizona (16-1, 6-0 in the Pac-12) and UCLA (13-2, 5-1) rank first and second in the conference in scoring offense. Both are in the top three in steals and assists per game. In other words, when No. 3 Arizona plays at No. 7 UCLA, the entertainment value should be high.
— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) January 25, 2022
UCLA (13-2, 5-1) has won the last five games in the series and covered in all five. Visiting Arizona is listed by the college basketball spreads as the two-point favorite.
Here’s a team-by-team breakdown with some information and trends to consider for those who bet online.
Once Arizona finishes up with the huge test at UCLA, the Wildcats will return home to face a struggling Arizona State team on Saturday.
While Arizona will be overwhelming favorites, it should be noted that two of the last three meetings between the teams were decided by two points or less. Add in the fact that the 2:30 p.m. game (12:30 p.m. local time) will be airing on CBS and emotions will be running high, as they should whenever the Wildcats and Sun Devils get together in any sport.
Arizona has won its last five games, although the Wildcats are just 3-2 against the spread during that stretch.
Kerr Kriisa and Dalen Terry rank first and fourth in the Pac-12 in assists per game while Kriisa is also the conference leader in three-pointers made per game.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State seemed on the verge of a huge upset when the Sun Devils went up 12 points on USC Monday night before the Trojans took control and rolled to the 78-56 win.
This is hardly the easiest of weeks for Arizona State (6-11, 2-5), facing two ranked teams, but at least the Sun Devils are playing after four games scheduled earlier this month were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The last two games of 2021 were also either postponed or canceled.
The Sun Devils’ record is pretty ugly, but Arizona State is 3-4 in games decided by three points or less so they aren’t a team to be taken lightly.
Arizona and Arizona State have split the last six meetings with, the Sun Devils covering against the Las Vegas odds in four of those six games.
Seven of Arizona State’s last eight games went under the total. It is hardly a surprising trend considering that the Sun Devils average a conference-low 57.3 points in Pac-12 play.
Two trends for California are pretty troubling heading into games at UCLA and USC on Thursday and Saturday.
The Bears are 0-4 in true road games and 0-5 against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
California (9-10, 2-6) has dropped its last nine games to UCLA, including five straight losses at Pauley Pavilion. The Bears have covered in each of the last two meetings but both of those came at home. The news isn’t much better when it comes to the series with Southern California. Cal has lost seven in a row to USC and covered just twice during that span.
The Bears have covered in 10 of its last 14 games this season.
Cal is second in the Pac-12 in three-point percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 30.1% from being the line.
Colorado opens the week at Oregon looking for its second true road win. The Buffaloes had won three of the previous four meetings before the Ducks won 60-56 when listed by the college basketball spreads as 2½-point favorites. The last time Colorado won at Oregon came in 2013. The home team has won the last 14 games in the series.
Colorado (12-6, 4-4) has more road tests on Thursday against Washington and on Sunday against Washington State. The Buffaloes are just 1-2 in true road games but if they want to move up the standings, those are the types of games Colorado needs to win.
The Buffaloes have struggled to beat Washington on the road but have had more success against Washington State, including a win in 2021 on the road.
Colorado is just 3-6-1 in its last 10 games against the spread.
Andre Kelly is second in the Pac-12 with an average of 8.7 rebounds per game and is tied for the lead with 125 total defensive rebounds.
Oregon has covered in each of its last seven home games against Colorado and that is a streak that the Ducks will look to continue on Tuesday night. The Ducks will remain at home when rival Oregon State comes to town in a game airing on ESPN2.
Although the Ducks will be heavily favored to roll in this one, it should be noted that the Ducks haven’t won consecutive games in the series since 2017.
Each of the last four meetings between Oregon and Oregon State has gone over the total with the road team winning each time.
Oregon (12-6, 5-2) has the longest active winning streak in the Pac-12, having won its last six games with four of those contests finishing over the total.
The Ducks have the Pac-12 leader in field goal percentage (N’Faly Dante, 71.6) and three-point percentage (Will Richardson, 46.0).
Oregon State Beavers
When Oregon State played host to rival Oregon earlier this season, the Beavers nearly pulled off the upset when listed by the Las Vegas odds as 4½-point underdogs, falling 78-76 on Jan. 10. Can they stay with the Ducks once again?
Oregon State (3-14, 1-6) will be well rested. The Beavers’ last game came on Jan. 20 when they lost by 10 at home to Washington.
Nine of Oregon State’s last 10 games have finished over the total.
If Oregon State wants to move up in the conference standings, tightening things up on defense would be a good place to start. The Beavers are last in the Pac-12 in points allowed (74.3) and field goal percentage defense (45.5).
Southern California Trojans
No. 15 USC looked like a team playing its third game in five days in the early stages of Monday’s game against Arizona State. Eight turnovers resulted in the Trojans falling behind by 12 before a 21-2 run got them back on course. Drew Peterson continued to lead the offense as he had 16 points in the 22-point win.
The Trojans’ busy week will continue on Thursday when Stanford comes to town. USC has won three of the last four meetings, but Stanford came away with the six-point win on Jan. 11. Four of the last five games between the teams went over the total.
The last five games against California went over the total. The Trojans have won five of the last six games at home vs. California.
USC (17-2, 7-2) covered in each of its last three games. The Trojans held each of the three opponents under 40 percent shooting and rank second in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage defense.
Stanford (11-6, 4-3) will be looking for its first win at USC since 2018, when the Cardinal came away with the 77-76 win as a five-point underdog. The last time the Cardinal swept two games from USC in the same season came in 2015.
After playing at USC on Thursday, Stanford will be back in Los Angeles to square off with UCLA on Saturday. Stanford has won three of the last four games against UCLA including a 15-point win in 2020 the last time the Cardinal faced the Bruins on the road.
Three of Stanford’s last four games have gone under the total.
Stanford is second in the Pac-12 with an average of 12.3 offensive rebounds per game.
After the huge showdown with Arizona, UCLA will prepare to face a California team it has dominated in recent years. That will be followed two days later with a game against Stanford.
UCLA had won seven of nine in the series against Stanford before losing three of the last four.
Nine of the last 10 games between Stanford and UCLA have gone over the total.
UCLA is just 1-4-1 against the spread in its last six games.
The Bruins lead the conference in three-point percentage and are second in assist/turnover ratio.
Utah could have a challenging week with back-to-back road games against Washington State on Wednesday and Washington on Saturday. The Utes have lost their first six true road games.
Utah (8-12, 1-9) had won 13 games in a row against the Cougars before falling 77-61 on Jan. 8 at home. It was the third straight game in the series to go under the total.
Utah’s last win at Washington came in 2018.
Five of the Utes’ last six games have gone under the total.
Utah leads the Pac-12 in three-point percentage defense but are just eighth in overall field goal percentage defense.
Washington (9-8, 4-3) has won its last six home games with Colorado and covered each time. The last four Colorado-Washington games have gone over the total.
Four of the last five games between Utah and Washington have been decided by six points or fewer. Washington has failed to cover in each of the last three.
The Huskies covered in five of their last seven games. Terrell Brown Jr. leads the Pac-12 in scoring (20.9), steals (2.6) and minutes played (35.1).
Washington State Cougars
The previous seven times that Washington State hosted Colorado, the game was decided by less than 10 points but that streak ended with a 70-59 Colorado win on January 23, 2021. The Cougars will look to snap a three-game losing streak to Colorado.
Washington State (10-7, 3-3) will meet up with Utah on Wednesday looking for consecutive wins in the series for the first time since 2013 and 2014.
Seven of Washington State’s last eight games have gone under the total.
In Pac-12 play, the Cougars allow a conference-low 59.2 points per game.