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UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Preview and Pick

No. 11 UCLA Bruins -1, 131.5 O/U (19-4) 12-10 ATS, 13-9 O/U at No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils +1, 131.5 O/U (18-5) 12-7 ATS, 9-9 O/U Thursday, February 11, 2009 Wells Fargo Arena (14,141) Tempe, Arizona 9:00 EST, TV: ESPN, Radio: Local AM 570, Sirius Satellite: Channel 122

By Wilson of Predictem.com

The UCLA Bruins will take their act on the road tonight in Tempe for another significant battle in the Pac-10 conference as they matchup against the Sun Devils. The Bruinís task will not be easy in the desert because ASU has already defeated them once this season (61-58 on Jan. 17) and they will surely look to repeat the victory. The Sun Devils are ranked No. 18 in both the AP and ESPN/Coaches polls which makes this game even more of a hot ticket, especially with the game being televised on ESPN.

UCLA has been on a terror as of late by sweeping a recent 4-game home stand. In the last four games the Bruins have won by an average of 22 points. They knocked off the California Bears 81-66, the Stanford Cardinal 97-63, the USC Trojans 76-60, and downed the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 89-63.

The Bruins are shooting 55 percent from the field in their last four games and a whopping 49.1 percent from 3-point land. Perhaps the weakest part of their game has been at the free throw line where they are just 77 percent, but even thatís not to shabby. The Bruins also outrebounded each of the last four teams by 7.2 rpg and forced 18.5 turnovers. UCLA is flat out playing some great basketball right now and steadily climbing towards the top of both polls.

Arizona State managed to sweep both Oregon schools last weekend in route to their own four game winning road streak. ASU has not won four in a row on the road since 1980-81 when they had three players who ended up in the NBA (Alton Lister, Fat Lever, and Byron Scott). The Sun Devils are lead by three starters who are averaging double digits in nearly every game. Jeff Pendergraph is putting in 13.7 points per game on 67.6 percent shooting! Wow, somebody might want to get a hand in his face! Richard Kuksiks is contributing 10.4 ppg, and James Harden leads the Pac-10 in scoring with 21.9 per contest.

Itís no wonder why this game is carrying a tight spread as the Sun Devils won by 3 in the last meeting, so tonightís battle should be full of excitement especially for those who have action on the game. Most Bookies have the total at 131.5 which, considering the defense both teams are capable of playing, the under may be the best wager. The Bruins are favored by one-point which seems like a fair line but I think they have more breathing room than that as they really have turned it up a notch since the last time they hooked up with the Sun Devils.

Tonight marks the 72nd meeting between the two schools and the Bruins hold the series advantage 56-15. UCLA is dominant in games at ASU as they are 23-8 in Tempe. Arizona snapped an eight game losing streak versus UCLA by beating the Bruins earlier this season in overtime 61-58.

UCLA has speed, athleticism and confidence as they come into Tempe to face a Sun Devil team that is just as confident and hungry for another upset win over their Pac-10 foe. Can Arizonaís defense prove that they are for real by once again standing up to the challenge of all-mighty UCLA? This game is a pickÖit would behoove you to take a look at the under.

Wilsonís Pick: I like the under in this game. Luck to ya.

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