Last Updated Mar 11, 2023, 8:30 PM
Pac 12 Championship Game Preview: UCLA vs. Arizona
Sports Betting Expert
It's only fitting that the two best teams in the Pac 12 all season square off in the Pac 12 Championship Game. The UCLA Bruins and the Arizona Wildcats have been the cream of the crop all year, and both teams are in line to be on a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed. There's a decent chance that UCLA ends up as the No. 1 overall seed if the Bruins beat the Wildcats and Houston doesn't win the ACC, so Mick Cronin will have his squad ready.
The Pac 12 Championship Game between the UCLA Bruins and the Arizona Wildcats will be held at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats Betting Prediction
We've seen the UCLA Bruins win 12 straight games coming into the Pac 12 Championship Game on Saturday night in Sin City. UCLA hasn't dropped a game since January 26 when the Bruins lost to crosstown rival USC, and this team has won 11 of those 12 games by at least seven points. The Arizona Wildcats have given some teams trouble with their size this season, but the Bruins will overcome that to win their first conference tournament since 2014.
Best Bet: UCLA -1 (-110)
Score Prediction: UCLA 74, Arizona 70
UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats Betting Odds
UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats Betting Resources
Date: Saturday, Mar. 11, 2023
TV-Time: ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: T-Mobile Arena
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats Betting Stats
Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS), Over-Under (O/U)
Points Per Game (PPG), Opponents Points Per Game (OPPG)
UCLA Bruins Betting Analysis
UCLA now has the best defense in the country according to Ken Pomeroy's metrics. UCLA just held Oregon to 56 points on Friday night, as the Ducks shot below 16% from beyond the arc in a Bruins' rout. The Bruins force turnovers on 23.8% of their opponents' possessions, and teams are making just 31.1% of their three-point attempts against this team. They force a lot of steals thanks to Jaylen Clark and others, and Adem Bona is one of the country's best at blocking shots.
The Bruins have gotten significantly better on offense over the course of the season too. Although UCLA doesn't get to the free throw line that often, the Bruins rarely turn the ball over and follow up missed shots with a lot of offensive rebounds. Jaime Jaquez is superb in this regard, and that's why he is in line for All-America honors. Jaquez is averaging 17.5 PPG and 8.1 RPG to lead the Bruins in both departments, and he is making 48.2% of his field goals.
There's more than just Jaquez to like on this offense as Clark is averaging 13.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG as a guard too. David Singleton has come along as a lights out three-point shooter that is making 43.5% of his attempts from downtown, and Tyger Campbell does a good job of getting teammates good looks with 4.8 APG. This is essentially a seven-man rotation though, so fatigue could be a factor with three games in three nights for UCLA.
Arizona Wildcats Betting Analysis
Arizona's big men lead the way as Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo are the leading scorers for the Wildcats. Tubelis is averaging 19.8 PPG and 9.1 RPG, and he is making 58.6% of his field goals. Meanwhile, Ballo is averaging 14.2 PPG and 8.5 RPG, and he has been a real force in the paint while making 65.3% of his shots rom the floor. They play off each other well with Tubelis moving around the floor and Ballo playing near the rim, but they would be more dangerous if Tubelis was a more accurate three-point shooter and Ballo made more than 56.6% of his free throws.
Perhaps the biggest concern for Arizona entering the Pac 12 Championship Game is the status of Kerr Kriisa. He has been the top set-up man for the Wildcats the past two seasons, and he is averaging 5.4 APG this year. Kriisa is playing 30.9 MPG, and he is averaging 10.2 PPG as the second-best shooter on the perimeter, but he sustained a shoulder injury on Thursday and has not been the same since that point. He is just 1 of 10 from beyond the arc in his last two games with just six points to his name.
The Wildcats have a pretty solid defense. Because of the size of Ballo and Tubelis, opponents have a tough time getting off quality shots in the paint, so teams are making just 46% of their two-point field goals against Arizona. That also keeps teams from getting second chances through offensive rebounds, and they surprisingly don't commit a lot of fouls either.