UCLA guard Tyger Campbell (10) drives on Arizona guard James Akinjo during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz. UCLA won 81-76. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
- No. 4 seed UCLA meets No. 5 seed Oregon State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament at 5:30 ET on Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nev.
- UCLA controlled its destiny in the regular-season league race before losing its final three games to drop to the No. 4 seed
- Check the odds, analysis, and betting predictions below
No. 4 seed UCLA (17-8, 13-6) will bring a three-game losing streak into its Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal game against Oregon State at 5:30 pm ET on Wednesday. The Bruins were in first place in the league two weeks ago before falling hard.
Oregon State (14-12, 10-10) has had a sneakily good season in its first campaign without career leading scorer Tres Tinkle. The Beavers have won three of their last four games and four of six, and they beat top tournament seeds Oregon and USC in the regular season.
Oregon State vs UCLA Odds
|Oregon State Beavers||+180||+5 (-116)||134 (Ov-106)|
|UCLA Bruins||-215||-5 (-106)||134 (Un-116)|
Odds from FanDuel on March 10
UCLA is looking for its first Pac-12 tournament title since 2014, which was also the the last time it made the championship game. The Bruins have not won more than one game in the tournament since then, when they topped Oregon and Stanford by double-figures and beat Arizona 75-71 in the finals.
The Beavers are seeded in the top five for only the second time since 2005, when Tinkle’s senior team was seeded fourth in 2019, but lost its first game to Colorado. Oregon State beat Utah in the play-in round of the 2020 tournament, but it was cancelled the next day because of coronavirus.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Bruins on a Bad Run
UCLA’s current three-game losing streak comes with mitigation. The Bruins lost to the top-three seeds in the the Pac-12 tournament, two of the games were on the road, and the one that wasn’t came against its arch-rival.
Still, the bad stretch seemed to have exposed a flaw: the Bruins’ inability to handle the pressure of late-game situations.
Colorado used a late 15-1 run to pull away from UCLA for a 70-61 victory Feb. 27. Oregon had two big spurts in an 82-74 victory over the Bruins on March 3 — a 15-2 burst to overcome a nine-point second-half deficit, and an 18-8 run to regain control after the Bruins came back to tie the game with four minutes remaining.
UCLA lost a 13-point lead in a 64-63 loss to USC in the regular-season finale March 6, although it did not trail until the Trojans’ Tahj Eaddy hit a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining.
It appears the loss of athletic forward Chris Smith to a season-ending knee injury Jan. 2 is finally being felt. The Bruins’ offense now comes from perimeter players Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Jules Bernard, and All-Pac-12 point guard Tyger Campbell.
Juzang, who is averaging 14.2 points per game, missed the USC game with an ankle injury suffered in practice the day prior, and his status is unknown.
Oregon State Plays a Team Game
With Tres Tinkle gone, Oregon State was picked to finish last in the league in preseason polls. The Beavers have defied that by excelling at the little things. They are greater than the sum of their parts.
All-Pac-12 guard Ethan Thompson (15.5 points per game) is the only Beaver in the top 15 in league scoring, and forward Warith Alatishe (8.4 per game) is the only one in the top 15 in rebounding.
Thompson and Zach Reichle are in the top eight in assist-to-turnover ratio, however, and the Beavers lead the league with a 1.31:1 ratio. Alatishe has a league-best 11 double-figure rebounding games.
Oregon State also leads the Pac-12 in defensive field-goal percentage even after giving up 15 threes (on 23 tries) in an 80-67 loss to Oregon in the last game of the regular season on March 7. The Beavers have made 76.0 percent of their free throws, third in the league, and guard Jarod Lucas (12. 8 points a game) has made 91.5%, fifth in NCAA Division I and second in the league to Juzang (93.3).
By the Numbers
The Bruins are 5-6 straight up since winning their first eight Pac-12 games. They have been a strong go-against for the last eight weeks, going 3-10 ATS in their last 13. They covered the number as a 2.5-point underdog against USC and have lost their last seven ATS when favored by at least four.
UCLA has beaten two teams in the Pac-12 first division since Jan. 7, Arizona (twice) and Oregon State. The Beavers covered as an 11.5-point underdog in a 57-52 loss at UCLA on Jan. 30.
Oregon State has gone the other direction, winning three of its last four and going 8-1 ATS. The Beavers are 12-3-1 ATS since a 34-point home loss to Arizona on Jan. 14.
Given the recent trends, there is only one play in this game.
The pick: Oregon State +5 (-116)
Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media outlets and has written for the AP, USA Today and Baseball America, among others. He staffed the 2015-17 World Series and has staffed four Super Bowls.