WASHINGTON HUSKIES (13-9)
at UCLA BRUINS (16-6)
Pauley Pavilion – Los Angeles, CA
Tip-off: Thursday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: UCLA -7.5, Total: 148.5
UCLA will look to get back on track after two consecutive losses with a win against visiting Washington on Thursday night.
UCLA’s past two defeats were ugly, going down two consecutive times as favorites, losing by 18 points on the road to Arizona State before falling by 4 points to 10-point underdog USC at home. While the Bruins are one of the most talented teams in the nation, lapses like in those games have plagued them all season. Washington has also been inconsistent in Pac-12 play—after winning their first four games, the Huskies proceeded to drop four in a row before responding with a win against that same Arizona State team last week. Both teams are also dealing with injury concerns, but UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad (illness) and Washington’s Aziz N’Diaye (eye) are both probable for Thursday's game.
Can UCLA end its losing skid with an emphatic win on Thursday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts are sizzling, going 11-4 ATS (73%) in the past two days of college basketball Best Bets. StatFox Gary is 5-0 ATS in his past three days, improving to an impressive 57.3% ATS (75-56-1) mark for the season. StatFox Dave is 16-10 ATS (62%) in his past eight days to improve to 54% ATS (118-102-3) for the season. StatFox Brian is 4-2 ATS since Monday.
Playing a grueling 35.0 MPG, junior G C.J. Wilcox (18.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG) paces the Washington offense with 2.5 threes per game, though he has struggled his past three games with just 11.7 PPG. When the two teams met at UCLA last season, Wilcox scored 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting off the bench as the Bruins pulled out a six-point victory. In that same game, PG Abdul Gaddy (11.1 PPG, 3.8 APG) dropped 12 assists and swiped three steals. But this season, he is averaging 3.2 turnovers per game, and it’s been only getting worse with 15 miscues over his past three games. Six-foot-6 swingman Scott Suggs (12.2 PPG) rounds out the backcourt, though he’s hitting just 39.8% FG this season. Seven-foot C Aziz N’Diaye (10.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG) is a rock for this team in the frontcourt and is coming off two consecutive double-doubles (13.0 PPG on 11-of-17 FG, 10.5 RPG). He will be key down low on the defensive end, assuming he can play with his eye injury.
UCLA covered in both contests between the two teams last season, but by just one point in each game. This season they are one of the best passing teams in the nation with 17.3 APG, good for seventh in Division-I. PG Larry Drew II (6.3 PPG, 8.0 APG) leads the nation with an insane 4.86 Ast/TO ratio (175 assists, 36 turnovers). In his past three games, Drew has 21 assists and just three turnovers. Shabazz Muhammad (18.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG) is the main man Drew finds with the rock as one of the best freshmen in the nation. Muhammad is only getting better with 21.0 PPG in his past three contests, though his health status needs to be monitored, as he may not be able to play 35.0 MPG has he has logged in those three games. Freshman SG Jordan Adams (15.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG) has also been key for this offense with 15.7 PPG in his past three contests. Fellow first-year swingman Kyle Anderson (9.4 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.6 APG) has the skills of a guard, but the body of a forward at 6-foot-9. Anderson has struggled lately, though, with just 6.3 PPG on 8-of-27 FG (29.6%) over his past three games. The key cog for the Bruins down low along with Anderson is PF Travis Wear (12.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG). When the Bruins hosted the Huskies last year, Wear recorded a double-double with 16 points (6-of-11 FG) and 10 boards.