College Basketball - Oregon Ducks at UCLA Bruins (-8, 136) 10:30 PM EST
The game of greatest significance on Thursday’s college board takes place on the Westwood campus just outside Los Angeles. This is where we have a spat of two Top 10 teams in a rematch from an early game that was as thrilling of a contest as there will be all year. Now with Oregon and UCLA tied for first place, the winner takes sole possession of the Pac 10 lead with less than half of the conference schedule yet to be played.
UCLA has to get over the fact they either played their worst half of basketball or the stars were aligned against them in second half collapse vs. Stanford. After jetting out to 37-20 lead just before the half, the Bruins were outscored 55-31 the rest of the way. "No excuses. We had a golden opportunity with a 17-point lead," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "We've got to do a better job keeping the killer instinct." Star guard Arron Afflalo was not impressed with his team’s effort "We just didn't come out with the intensity we needed to in the second half," Afflalo said. “We have to be a little more mature in the way we close things out."
Oregon on the other hand comes in off impressive overtime win at Washington State. The Ducks had lost to Washington two nights before without their leader Aaron Brooks who was suspended for a prior infraction. Brooks came out with extreme determination and tied a season-high with 31 points against the Cougars. Brooks was the difference maker in handing UCLA it’s only other defeat in Eugene 68-66. In that contest Oregon started fast and kept the Bruins at bay until the final minutes when they caught the Ducks before falling. Now with first place on the line, UCLA will be seeking payback.
The Bruins have opened as 8-point home favorites at sportsbook.com. While some may consider this number high, if one follows standard line value from one game to the next, the number is actually low. When these teams met just under a month ago, UCLA was a 2-point road favorite. Though Oregon won, the actual line itself was fairly accurate. If a standard conversion rate is four points for the home team in college hoops without any other mitigating circumstances then the Bruins should be favored by ten points tonight.
Oregon will be playing third consecutive road game and is 2-7 and 4-5 ATS at Pauley Pavilion. The Ducks have not quacked with much gumption off a close win by 3 points or less over a Pac-10 rival with 0-6 ATS record. UCLA on the other hand is 28-16 ATS versus good shooting teams making 45% or better of their shots.
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