The UCLA Bruins and Washington State Cougars will meet for a Pac-12 clash in Pullman at Beasley Coliseum tonight. Washington State has a couple of difficult opponents in front of them over the next two games. First, UCLA tonight at home, and then they welcome the USC Trojans in another home outing on Saturday night.
They have to be glad about this five-game homestand in Pullman after a four-game road trip. It was a productive road trip for the Cougars, and a stretch that might have put them outside the bubble. Washington State will absolutely have to finish strong, which might have to include playing UCLA and USC tough, but they’re not out of it yet despite a really slow start.
Washington State goes into Thursday night with a record of 11-8. If they beat UCLA and USC and finish strong the rest of the schedule, it’s going to be hard to ignore what the Cougars have been doing recently when it comes tournament selection time. Since going on a six-game losing streak, Washington State has been looking better, with most impressively a win on the road against the Oregon Ducks, 74-71, last week on February 4.
The Cougars were big 11.5-point underdogs and won straight up. They were also small underdogs against Washington and cleared them with ease, 77-62, prior to their win against the Ducks. Their road trip came to an end on February 6 in a hard-fought 68-66 loss against the Oregon State Beavers. Nothing against the effort by the Cougars, but they were just on the losing end of a two-point game.
UCLA looked ugly against USC in their most recent performance. They were trounced by a score of 66-48 against their rivals on the road. Even before that game, the Bruins weren’t looking particularly hot. They had a five-point win against a very beatable Washington team, and then four points over a mediocre Cal squad.
Following the 61-57 win over Cal on January 21, UCLA followed up with a 73-72 loss in overtime against Stanford, and then a close win over Oregon State, 57-52. Finally, the Bruins most recently had the brutal loss against the Trojans. They’ve been in some tight battles of late, and it could be the case against the Cougars tonight. Head below for our free UCLA vs. Washington State pick on February 11, 2021.
UCLA Bruins vs. Washington State Cougars NCAA Betting Odds:
UCLA vs. Washington State Prediction:
Given the effort by UCLA over the last month, it’s no wonder that they are no longer ranked. UCLA had been flirting with No. 25 in the country pretty well all season, but a recent loss against Stanford and USC did them in. Even besides those two losses, struggling against teams like Washington and Cal has done them no favors. The last time we really saw the Bruins put together a complete effort was against this Washington State team.
UCLA blew the doors open versus Washington State by a final score of 91-61 in Los Angeles. However, both teams have gone in opposite directions since that win. It was a much needed wake up call for Washington State, while UCLA seemed to think they had it all figured out and started going through the motions. Also keep in mind that UCLA had Jalen Hill and Cody Riley in that game, and they were at home, a place where they’ve been significantly better than as a visitor on the road.
The absence of Hill and Riley loomed large against USC. Their offense was in shambles without their two top forwards, as the Bruins scored just 48 points in the loss. There is currently no timetable for Hill’s return, as he is out for personal matters, while Riley is listed as questionable to play tonight. That does not help matters for a team that is struggling to find a rhythm, especially on the road where UCLA is just 3-3. The Bruins are scoring an average of 66.8 points and conceding 70 points per game on the road.
In their previous five outings, the offense has been stagnant with 63.8 points per game. They needed overtime against Stanford to notch more than 70 points. The strength of the Cougars is their defense, and they’ve improved nicely since getting blown out in Los Angeles. Washington State is 89th in the NCAA with 66.8 points against per game. At home they’ve been tight with only 62.5 points against per game. They should be able to play much better against a UCLA offense that is limping right now. Laying five points on the road with UCLA in their current form doesn’t look like good value.