UCLA Bruins Vs. Washington State Cougars 3/1/12 Tyrone’s Free College Basketball Pick Against the Spread
The 14-14, 6-10 Washington State Cougars have suffered through two three-game losing streaks as well as two abbreviated two-game losing streaks. WSU hits the road where they're 3-7 wanting to sweep the Los Angeles schools to avoid falling any from getting the eighth seed at the Pacific-12 Conference Tournament. The 16-13, 9-7 UCLA Bruins are currently primed for the sixth spot, but a loss to the Cougs on Thursday at the LA Sports Arena could send UCLA down one rung come the start of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Washington State was swept by first-place 20-8, 13-3 Washington 59-55 on Saturday in Pullman. The Cougars could see the Huskies during the second round of the Pacific-12 Conference Tournament. WSU aims to avenge a 63-60 loss to the Bruins at the Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. The Cougs have been owned in recent memory at home, away or on the moon against UCLA. Washington State led by as many as seven and trailed by as many seven points on Feb. 4.
The Cougars led by seven on junior forward Brock Motum's three-pointer and free throws during the last couple minutes of the first half. The Bruins however rallied back to take the lead with 9:25 remaining in the game on sophomore forward David Wear's layup. Sophomore forward Patrick Simon's jumper seconds later reclaimed the lead for WSU who would never put their nose back in front. Motum missed a layup with 7:06 left that would have given the Cougs the lead. Instead UCLA capped an 8-0 run with six straight points by sophomore center Joshua Smith to put the Bruins ahead 58-51 with 4:49 to go.
UCLA won courtesy of Smith scoring 19 on 8-of-9 shooting and 3-of-4 FTing. Senior guard Lazeric Jones and Wear had 15 points apiece. David's twin brother sophomore forward Travis Wear didn't play. Washington State was led by Motum's 25 as junior guard Mike Ladd, senior wingman Abe Lodwick and junior guard Reggie Moore all accumulated double figures as well for the Cougars. WSU shot much worse from the floor, 37.7 to 45.8 percent, but made twice as many three-pointers and nearly as many FTs despite getting the line 10 less times. As well the Cougs had five more offensive rebounds. However the Bruins had five less turnovers courtesy of a 9-5 edge in steals.
UCLA fell 65-63 at Arizona on Saturday. Had the Bruins won, UCLA's chances of a top-four seed would still be very plausible. The Bruins are however a much better squad at home winning 12 of 16 games in Los Angeles. After losing to 18-11, 8-8 Texas 69-59 on Dec. 3, UCLA has won 11 of 12 home games only going down 73-63 to 23-7, 13-4 California. The Bruins have two wins by single digits at the Sports Arena with 15-15, 6-9 Richmond and 'Zona battling tough.
Washington State has lost 20 of the last 22 games to UCLA including falling at the Bruins by two, three twice, seven, nine, 11, 12 twice and 15. The Cougars won 82-81 at Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 21, 2009. Three weeks later however UCLA pasted WSU 64-53 leading by as many as 20 points. The Cougs also beat the Bruins in LA 55-48 on Feb. 5, 2004. Four of seven Washington State road losses this year came by single figures with the Cougars falling by 10 and 11 points two other times. For whatever reason WSU tends to play better at UCLA than at home against the Bruins. I'll call on the Cougs to do the same here.