Colorado faces off against UCLA to start the Pac-12 quarterfinals. Colorado is coming off a close win against Washington to start the tournament, while UCLA had a bye and their last game was a home win against Arizona. My prediction is that UCLA covers the 9-point spread against Colorado. UCLA is playing like one of the best teams in the country right now, while Colorado has been okay at best as a team. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Colorado vs. UCLA Prediction
UCLA has cemented itself as one of the best teams in the entire country this season, and they’re in the running for a #1 seed.
Jaime Jacquez Jr. is the best player for the Bruins this year and he was also named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. He leads the Bruins in scoring at 17.5 PPG and then also in rebounds at 8 per game. Jaylen Clark was the #2 for the Bruins this season and he averaged 13 points and then lead the team in steals at 2.6 per game. Clark got injured in their last game, and is out for the year with an achilles injury, which is a huge blow for them. Tyger Campbell and Amari Bailey are the two guards that need to step up even more with Clark’s injury. Campbell was tied with Clark at 13 PPG and he leads the team in assists per game at 4.7. Amari Bailey is just a freshman, but is next up. He averages 10 PPG and will be asked to do more with Clark out.
UCLA has been the best defensive team in the Pac-12 this season. They’re first in points allowed at 60.1 and that’s also good for 6th in all of college basketball. On offense, they’re also averaging 74 PPG.
On the other side, Colorado has had an up and down year. They’ve been very inconsistent all year.
Tristan da Silva is Colorado’s best player. He leads the team in scoring at 16 PPG and he’s the best option on offense for the Buffaloes. KJ Simpson is basically tied with da Silva in scoring at 15.9 PPG and then he leads the Buffaloes in assists at 4 per game and then in steals at 1.5 per game. However, he’s out for the entire tournament because he has mono. J’Vonne Hadley and Julian Hammond III are the two guards that need to step up. Hadley averages 8 PPG and then leads the team in rebounds at 6 per game. Julian Hammond III is also up next and he averages 7 PPG.
Colorado has been very good on defense and is 4th in the Pac-12 in points allowed at 66.3 PPG. They also average 70 PPG on offense.
UCLA is the much better team in this game, even without Clark. Colorado can get this game ugly because of their defense, but UCLA is much better on offense and that should be the difference in the game. UCLA covers after the game being close for a little bit.
Colorado vs. UCLA Prediction: UCLA -9
Colorado vs. UCLA Odds
UCLA is a 9-point favorite against Colorado and is at -460 on the money line. The over/under is also at 132.5. It makes sense that UCLA is favored by this much because of how good they’ve been all season. The over/under also makes sense because both of these teams are very good on defense too. This spread should also stay where it’s before tip-off.
Colorado vs. UCLA Key Matchups
Can Tristan da Silva matchup with Jaime Jacquez Jr.? Can J’Vonne Hadley matchup with Amari Bailey?
Jaime Jacquez Jr. vs Tristan da Silva
Jaime Jacquez Jr is playing on an All-American level this season. He averages 17.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Tristan da Silva most of the game, who averages 16 points, 1 assist, and 5 rebounds per game for the season. These are the two best players for each team. Jacquez is the biggest reason why I think UCLA covers this 9-point spread against Colorado.
Amari Bailey vs J’Vonne Hadley
Amari Bailey has been very good this year as a freshman. He averages 10 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against J’Vonne Hadley most of the game, who averages 8 points, 1 assist, and 6 rebounds per game for the season. Hadley is a big guard that’ll be asked to do more without KJ Simpson. Bailey is the primary guard that’ll step up with Clark out and is also why I think the Bruins cover the spread too.