Despite 28 games currently postponed, and maybe more by the time I’m done writing this article, there is a lot of college basketball on the agenda on Saturday. College football might be winding down now, but college basketball is going to heat up now that we’re in 2021. The NCAA Tournament was wiped out last season by Covid-19.
It will be nice to get back to one of the biggest sporting events in the country. For me, it’s the Super Bowl, and then March Madness for my favorite events, so it was certainly missed. The NCAA Tournament should be wide open by the time we get to March. However, Gonzaga is making a strong case to be the clear cut No. 1 seed. They’ve made waste of everyone so far.
You can pretty well find a game at any second on Saturday. There is a new game tipping off pretty much every 30 minutes. One game that I’ve circled is an evening game in California between the Colorado Buffaloes and UCLA Bruins. The Buffaloes and Bruins will meet at Pauley Pavillion for a scheduled tip-off at 5:00 p.m. PST.
This matchup features two of the better teams in the Pac-12 on Saturday evening. UCLA enters with a record of 6-2 and 2-0 in the conference. Oregon and UCLA are the only teams in the conference that have won two games and no losses in the Pac-12. Washington State is undefeated with a record of 8-0, but have only played one conference game thus far.
The Pac-12 is most certainly wide open. Colorado, Stanford, USC, Washington State, and Arizona all have decent cases for winning the conference. The Buffaloes might have the best player in the conference in McKinley Wright IV. He’s already been awarded the Pac-12 Player of the Week award twice. If he were to get injured, then Colorado’s chances go directly out the window with him. He’s the engine that propels the Buffaloes.
Colorado is coming off a 72-62 win after responding from a 88-74 beatdown against Arizona. The tight Colorado defense we’ve watched this season was lost in the desert. Fortunately, they responded and forced the Trojans into multiple errors on New Year’s Eve. Colorado stays on the road in the Los Angeles area for Saturday after that win. Head below for our free Colorado vs. UCLA pick on January 2, 2021.
Colorado Buffaloes vs. UCLA Bruins NCAA Betting Odds:
Colorado vs. UCLA Prediction:
Colorado runs through McKinley Wright IV. He gets hurt, and he did suffer a minor ankle injury the other day, you can count Colorado out of the Pac-12 hunt. Wright has scored an average of 15.9 points per game on the season. He’s the only player that seems to know how to dish the ball around, as Wright is one of only two on the Buffaloes averaging two or more assists a game. Wright has notched 5.4 assists per game.
Overall on the season, the team has been pretty proficient on the both ends of the floor. Colorado has scored an average of 76.8 points and conceded 61.3 points a game this season. Their defense has been the primary catalyst for their success, though Arizona sliced through them with ease. Besides Arizona, Tennessee and USC have been the only real challenges they’ve had, though.
Colorado did a fine job on Tennessee defensively, but the Volunteers were completely fine with killing the clock and winning a low-scoring game. Nobody has been able to score on the Volunteers this year. They took a 88-74 loss against Arizona in their next outing against a capable Pac-12 opponent. Their only impressive win so far is against USC.
The Bruins have been just about identical with Colorado with regard to offensive production. They’ve netted 76.6 points per game as opposed to 76.8 for Colorado. The Buffaloes have the edge in the defensive numbers, but the best offense they’ve played, Arizona, did whatever they wanted. I can’t see staying on the west coast during New Years following a big win doing any good for Colorado. They can’t really go out, but it’s easy to get complacent away from home on a road trip. I’m on UCLA to do just enough to cover in this one.