MISSOURI TIGERS (10-1)
at UCLA BRUINS (9-3)
Pauley Pavilion – Los Angeles
Tip-off: Friday, 10:00 p.m. ET
Line: UCLA -2.5, Total: 150.5
One of the nation’s most talented yet inconsistent teams in the early going will take on a top-10 foe Friday night as UCLA hosts No. 7 Missouri in an exciting non-conference contest.
After three disappointing early-season losses, UCLA has begun to show signs of improvement with four consecutive wins, including a dramatic two-point win against Texas. Missouri, meanwhile, has just one loss—to then-No.2 Louisville—and has won by cleaning up on the glass. The Tigers average 47.2 RPG, the most in the nation.
Who will win this marquee matchup on Friday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts continue to roll in the past two weeks, posting a collective 45-26-1 ATS (63%) record since Dec. 14. StatFox Scott is 9-5-1 ATS (64%) over this stretch, while StatFox Dave is 16-11 ATS (59%) in these 14 days. The experts now have a collective 54% ATS mark (159-137-7) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who is a perfect 8-0 ATS since Dec. 19, and sits at 63% ATS (36-21) for the season, while Dave is at 54% ATS (58-50-2) on the year with StatFox Brian at 51% ATS (34-33-2).
UCLA has one of the best passing offenses in the country with 18.3 APG as the Bruins feature a number of top scoring options for Larry Drew II (5.9 PPG, 8.5 APG) to dish the ball to. Shabazz Muhammad (18.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG) is the top talent, and is starting to find his groove now with three consecutive 20-point efforts. Fellow first-year player Jordan Adams (18.2 PPG) has also been fantastic, averaging 24.5 PPG in his past two contests in which he hit a combined 18-of-25 field goals. Kyle Anderson (9.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG) is the team’s other top freshman. The Bruins are also aided by a pair of solid veterans in Travis Wear (10.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG) and David Wear (7.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG). The Wear brothers and Anderson will be the keys, needing to fight against Missouri for rebounds.
Six-foot-9 UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi (10.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG) leads the elite rebounding for Frank Haith’s squad. But Laurence Bowers (16.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG) has been the team’s top scorer, and at 6-foot-8 is a threat from all over the court, hitting 1.2 threes per game on a 56.5% clip. Phil Pressey (12.3 PPG, 6.3 APG) runs the offense and has a new backcourt partner in Jabari Brown (15.0 PPG), who will be playing just his third game of the season. Pressey has plenty of room for improvement though—he’s turning it over 3.2 times per game and hitting just 34.4% of his shots, both numbers that need to get better for Missouri to stay elite.