Arizona Looks to Build on Sweep of UCLA, USC
The Pac-12 has come up with just enough surprises to keep things interesting. Will there be more upsets this week?
One thing to consider is that UCLA and Arizona State are the only teams in the conference with winning road records while the teams in bottom half of the Pac-12 are a combined 4-29 on the road.
Thursday’s matchup between UCLA and USC could be a rather entertaining affair with the Bruins looking to keep the rest of the conference in their rear-view mirror.
The schedule kicks off with a non-conference matchup on Wednesday when a five-win Chicago State team comes to Palo Alto to face Stanford.
UCLA (-350) has the best odds to win the Pac-12 title followed by Arizona at +275. There is a pretty large gap after the top two teams as Utah and USC are both priced at +2200 to win the conference title.
UCLA dropped three spots to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll and two positions to No. 7 in the coaches’ poll. Arizona went from No. 11 to No. 6 in the AP rankings and from 11th to eighth in the coaches’ poll.
According to the college basketball playoff odds, UCLA (+1200) is tied for fourth in the odds to win the national title while Arizona comes in at +1400.
Here’s a look at the best games this week in the Pac-12.
Game of Week
UCLA vs Southern California
- Date, time (TV): Thursday, Jan. 26, 9:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
UCLA looks to bounce back after suffering its first conference loss against Arizona. The Bruins shot just 31.3% from the field and missed 16 of 20 shots from 3-point range.
Freshman Adem Bona made five of his six shots. However, the other four starters were just 14 of 53 from the field and the Bruins (17-3, 8-1 Pac-12) only got four points off the bench.
USC (14-6, 6-3) also had its most recent loss come at the hands of Arizona. Drew Peterson and Boogie Ellis combined for 37 points, eight assists and seven 3-pointers in a 77-69 win at Arizona State.
Seven of the last eight games between the Bruins and Trojans have finished under the total. Four of the last five meetings were decided by seven points or less.
UCLA has covered against the college basketball lines in 12 of 20 games this season, the best mark in the Pac-12 while USC isn’t far behind with an 11-9 record against the spread.
Other Games to Watch
Colorado vs Oregon
- Game, time (TV): Thursday, Jan. 26, 9:00 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Colorado had an eventful four-day stretch with both of the Buffaloes’ home games against Washington and Washington State.
Colorado trailed by a point against the Huskies with less than 10 seconds to go before a turnover ended any hopes of a road win. On Sunday, KJ Simpson’s 3-pointer with four seconds remaining lifted the Buffaloes (12-9, 4-6) to a 58-55 victory against Washington State.
It is hard to know what to make of this Oregon team. The Ducks went from running a top-10 Arizona team off the floor to losing to a Stanford team with one conference win a week later.
The good news is that Jermaine Couisnard made his season debut earlier this month and has scored in double digits in three of his five games for the Ducks (11-9, 5-4).
Colorado has won three of the last four games against Oregon and that included a 68-41 home win on Jan. 5 as Tristan da Silva had 30 points
Arizona vs Washington
- Game, time (TV): Thursday, Jan. 26, 11:00 p.m. ET (FS1)
Arizona (17-3, 6-3) rebounded from its loss to Oregon by sweeping the Southern California squads. Azuolas Tubelis averaged 14.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in the wins over USC and UCLA. Kerr Kriisa had eight assists in the win over the Trojans. A dunk by Oumar Ballo put Arizona up by 12 with 2:10 to go before UCLA cut into the lead in the final minute.
— Arizona Basketball (@ArizonaMBB) January 21, 2023
Washington State (9-12, 4-6) has lost two games in a row. Junior TJ Bamba is coming off a 19-point effort in the Cougars’ loss to Colorado. Washington State was just 4 of 16 on 3-pointers in that loss.
When the teams met on Jan. 7, Mouhamed Gueye had 24 points and 14 rebounds as the Cougars rolled to a 74-61 victory as a 12-point underdog on the road according to the sportsbook. That snapped a five-game losing streak against Arizona.
Saturday’s game at Washington could be an interesting test for Arizona.
Arizona has won six games in a row against Washington, even though the Huskies have covered in three of the previous four.
Arizona State vs Washington
- Game, time (TV): Thursday, Jan. 26, 11:00 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
The Sun Devils (15-5, 6-3) look to snap a two-game losing streak. Leading scorer Desmond Cambridge averaged 16 points in the losses to USC and UCLA. However, he shot just 40% from the floor.
Washington (12-9, 4-6) had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 25-point loss at Utah. The Huskies shot their way out of that matchup, going 8 of 26 on 3-pointers and getting to the foul line just eight times.
Five of the last six games between the Sun Devils and the Huskies ended up over the total. Arizona State has won five of the last seven games against Washington. The teams have split the last four games played in Seattle.
The Sun Devils remain on the road when they face Washington State on Saturday.
Utah vs Oregon State
- Game, time (TV): Thursday, Jan. 26, 11:00 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
Braden Carlson led Utah to a sweep of the games against Washington State and Washington as he had 53 points while shooting 72.4% from the field.
Oregon State (8-12, 2-7) picked up its first win of 2023 as freshman Jordan Pope’s 19 points lifted the Beavers to a 68-48 win over Cal.
The Utes have won the last two games against Oregon State after dropping the previous five. Each of the previous four games in the series finished over the total.
Utah (14-7, 7-3) has a matchup with Oregon on Saturday
California vs Stanford
- Game, time (TV): Saturday, Jan. 26, 10:00 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Cal and Stanford are currently tied with Oregon State at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings so this is a chance for one of them to pick up a much-needed win.
Spencer Jones has seven straight double-digit scoring games for Stanford (7-12, 2-7) and that includes a 13-point effort against Cal on Jan. 6
Leading scorer Devin Askew is just 6 of 20 over his last three games for Cal (3-17, 2-7).
Something to consider for those who bet online: Cal has covered in four of the last five games, including the matchup earlier this season.