UCLA Eyeing No. 1 Seed in March Madness Bracket
Arizona State’s upset of Arizona should end any thoughts about No. 4 UCLA taking the visiting Sun Devils lightly.
The Sun Devils led by five points at halftime in the first meeting of the season. However, UCLA got rolling in the second half to win comfortably, aided by 18 Arizona State turnovers.
This is a matchup of two of the top four scoring teams in the conference. The biggest difference between the teams comes on the other end of the court. UCLA leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense while Arizona State ranks seventh.
The Sun Devils actually have better numbers when it comes to field goal percentage defense. However, opponents attempt 5½ more shots per game against Arizona State than they do versus the Bruins.
Guard Austin Nunez (concussion) is questionable and forward Marcus Bagley (suspension) is out for Arizona State. Bagley scored in double digits in both of his games this season before being suspended.
Guard Abramo Canka (illness) is questionable while Evan Manjikian (arm) is out for UCLA.
The Bruins remained fourth in the Associated Press poll and dropped from third to fourth in the coaches poll.
According to the college basketball odds, UCLA (+1200) is tied for fifth in the odds to win the national championship. Arizona State is well back at +20000.
UCLA is fourth in the NCAA NET rankings and is 6-4 in Quad 1 games. Arizona State is 63rd and that won’t get the Sun Devils much in the way of a look as an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
Ready for an Encore
It would be pretty hard for a tram to head into a huge matchup with more momentum than Arizona State so that is something of those making college basketball picks to consider.
The Sun Devils got a 60-foot heave from leading scorer Desmond Cambridge at the buzzer to stun rival Arizona.
The Shot Heard Around the State❕
Dez wins it from half court 🤯 pic.twitter.com/GyiGFm4Rbk
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) February 25, 2023
Now the Sun Devils look to make it two straight wins against ranked teams.
With a relatively mediocre resume heading into the Arizona game, this may not be a must-win game for Arizona State, but a victory would certainly grab the attention of those responsible for putting the March Madness bracket together.
Cambridge is averaging 17.5 points with 10 3-pointers over the last four games. He had 15 points in the first meeting with UCLA.
Arizona State has covered against the college basketball betting lines in just three of its last 12 games.
Eyeing a Top Seed
Although UCLA was listed as a No. 2 seed in the most recent reveal of the top 16 seeds by the NCAA selection committee, UCLA coach Mick Cronin was not impressed as he called the placement of the Bruins “comical.”
Part of the issue was that conference rival Arizona was ahead of the Bruins. That is no longer the case thanks to the recent loss by the Wildcats to Arizona State. UCLA can move onto the top line by taking care of business in the final two games of the regular season and by winning the Pac-12 title.
The Bruins look to bounce back after managing a season-low one 3-pointer the last time out against Colorado, going 1 of 14 from 3-point range.
The Las Vegas odds total has gone under in 13 of UCLA’s last 18 games.
Arizona State vs UCLA Game Injuries
Arizona State vs UCLA Head-to-Head
UCLA has won five of the last six games against Arizona State and including a 74-62 win on Jan 19 when listed as a five-point favorite on the road.
UCLA has won the last three home games against the Sun Devils.
Seven of the last eight games in the series have finished over the total while this is the seventh straight game when the Bruins are favored against Arizona State.
Arizona State vs UCLA Game Information
- Game: Arizona State (20-9, 11-7 Pac-12) vs UCLA (25-4, 16-2)
- Location: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles
- Day/Time: Thursday, March 2, 9 p.m. ET
- Arizona State vs UCLA Live stream: TBS.com
Arizona State vs UCLA Betting Lines
Arizona State vs UCLA Picks and Prediction
This should be a good warm-up for UCLA before Saturday’s huge matchup against Arizona, a game that will dominate the college basketball news. The visiting Sun Devils figure to play with a sense of desperation knowing that there is work yet to be done to have a chance to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
UCLA leads the Pac-12 with an average of 8.6 steals per game and will look to disrupt the Arizona State offense, much like the Bruins did in the second half when the teams met earlier this season.
Arizona State has split its four games against ranked opponents after the win over Arizona.
The Bruns are 24-2 when listed by the sportsbook as the favorite. However, Arizona State is 7-3 as the underdog and that is one of the best marks in the country.
The Sun Devils have covered in just five of its 11 road games. UCLA is 9-6 against the spread at home. Look for UCLA to add another home win to its total. However, the college basketball lines have Arizona State as an 11½-point underdog and the Sun Devils could make it a closer game than that.
Arizona State is listed at +490 in our Las Vegas college basketball lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Sun Devils, you have a chance to win $490. UCLA is -700, offering a chance to win $14 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Arizona State a 16.95% chance to win, with UCLA at 87.50%.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.