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California Golden Bears vs. UCLA Bruins
Where and when: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, California, Sunday, 8pm EST
The California Golden Bears travel to Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, to take on the UCLA Bruins on Sunday night at 8 pm EST. Each of these squads have had a rough go of it as of late as the Bruins are losers of 3-straight games, including 6 of their last 7, overall, while the Golden Bears have dropped 7 of their last 10 games entering this contest. UCLA has won 5-straight games versus California, including 5-straight at Pauley Pavilion. Furthermore, the Bruins have covered in 3 of their last 5 games versus California, including in 3 of the last 5 meetings at Pauley Pavilion.
Cal seeks to begin another win streak after loss to TrojansThe Golden Bears, at 2-2 in the Pac 12, halted a 2-game losing streak to the Trojans of Southern California in their last time out as this game was not close at all with the Trojans going up by 16-points at the half. The offense, which averages 64 points per game on 43% shooting on the season, shot just 34% versus USC, converted on just 5-25 3-point attempts, in addition to making only 11-22 free throws. Leading scorer Matt Bradley (17 ppg, 5 rebs) managed 13 points on a 5-13 shooting night (2-6 3FG) while Kareem South (10 ppg) had 12 on the night on 5-12 shooting (2-7 3FG).
Freshmen are getting those reps in.— Cal Basketball (@CalMBBall) January 17, 2020
4 points for DJ Thorpe and Dimitrios Klonaras has his first points as a Golden Bear with 3. pic.twitter.com/Yy2XD4qcKT
Needless to say, the Golden Bears will need much more offensive production for their contest with the Bruins, and may indeed have an opportunity to be more effective. UCLA is ranked 344th in 3-point field goal % in 2019; On the other hand, California is shooting 36% from long-range on the year, with leading scorer in sophomore guard Bradley shooting 37% in this area. It will be interesting to see if the Golden Bears can take advantage of the Bruins’ inconsistency on the perimeter.
Defensively, California is coming off one of its worst defensive performances in quite some time as the Trojans shot 51% from the floor along with 61% from 3-point range for a total of 14 3-pointers made. And while the Golden Bears are allowing a respectable 69 points per game on 41% shooting in 2019, they are also inconsistent when guarding from the perimeter as they allow 37% shooting to opponents from long-range. This flaw may indeed pose some scoring opportunities for what continues to be a dismal offense for the Bruins.
Bruins seek to halt 3-game skid versus Golden BearsUCLA, at 1-3 in the Pac 12, represents one of the cellar teams of the conference. Their only conference win of the year came against the Washington Huskies in their first Pac 12 matchup of the season. The Bruins were able to go up by 10 points at the half during the contest while fighting off a late rally to take the 2-point win in the end. Since this contest, the Bruins have dropped 3-straight by an average of over 10 points. Their most recent defeat came at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal as they allowed the visitors to pull away in the 2nd half after only being down 2-points at the break.
UCLA will host its “Centennial Celebration” as the Bruins take on California this Sunday evening in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom (5 p.m., PT).— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) January 17, 2020
TICKETS: https://t.co/2wpvJsOGv2 pic.twitter.com/OOr4NbUEjx
The defense forced 11 turnovers, yet allowed over 50% shooting to Stanford as the Cardinal also connected on 47% of their 3-point shots. The Bruins, which are converting just under 44% of their shots from the floor in 2019, shot only 40% during the contest while going 5-16 from long-range. Freshman guard Jaime Jaquez, Jr. (8 ppg, 4 rebs) along with sophomore forward Jalen Hill (10 ppg, 7 rebs) led the team with 15 and 14 points, respectively, on a combined 11-19 shooting night. Leading scorer in junior guard Chris Smith (12 ppg, 5 rebs) struggled with 6 points on a 1-4 night while committing 4 turnovers.
And while this game was one of Smith’s worst, the guard is shooting 46% from the floor on the year and will indeed have an opportunity to come out of his slump versus a Golden Bears defense that gave up 80+ to their last opponent. Defensively, however, the Bruins, who are allowing 43% shooting to opponents (69 points), must be able to contain an offense for California that does not score very many points, yet can be dangerous from long-range when they are clicking.
- Bruins are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games.
- Bruins are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- No trends to report
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
With each of these offense struggling the way they are, 8 points seems to be a bit much to lean on the side of the Bruins; However, it seems like a great number to lean with the Golden Bears as they have shown that they can cover versus UCLA in doing so in 4 of their last 7 meetings. And while Cal has not been playing well on the road as of late, the Bruins are also losers of 3-straight at Pauley Pavilion. Again, neither of these teams enter this contest with a major advantage over the other, yet the points with the Golden Bears seem to be the most logical selection, particularly with their ability to shoot the 3-ball along with the Bruins inability to guard the perimeter.
Prediction: California Golden Bears +8
Full-Game Total Pick
Aside from their last meeting at Pauley Pavilion, the under has been the play in 4 of the last 5 games amongst these 2 conference squads. Expect the same in this contest as well as you will have 2 offenses struggling with consistency versus two defenses that have played much more solid from a statistical standpoint. The under has also been the play in 3 of the last 5 games, overall, for the Golden Bears in addition to being the result in 4 of the last 7 for the Bruins. Again, I will strongly back the under in this instance as 2 conference teams desperate for a win will take the floor on Sunday and rely on their defenses to set and maintain the tone of the game throughout.
Prediction: Under 131