TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE (21-12)
vs. UCLA BRUINS (26-8)
NCAA Tournament - Round of 64
Viejas Arena - San Diego, CA
Tip-off: Friday, 9:55 p.m. ET
Line: UCLA -9, Total: 146
Riding an 11-game winning streak to finish the season and win the Conference USA Tournament, 13-seed Tulsa will face Pac-12 Tournament champion UCLA in the Big Danceís Round of 64 on Friday night.
Despite UCLA finishing its regular season with a disappointing loss to Washington State, the team quickly regrouped to win its conference tournament, beating three NCAA tourney-bound teams in Oregon, Stanford and Arizona. The Bruins are a dominant 21-12 ATS overall this season, going 5-1 (SU and ATS) in neutral site games and 11-2 SU (7-5 ATS) against non-conference opponents. They were 17-7 ATS as favorites this season and 11-4 ATS after scoring 75+ points in two straight games. The Golden Hurricane were also one of the best bets in the nation, going a commanding 22-8 ATS (4-2 ATS at neutral sites), though their prowess mainly came in conference play as they were a pedestrian 6-5 ATS in non-conference play this season. They finished the season 12-1 ATS in their last 13 games, and will face a UCLA squad that is 5-18 ATS as neutral-court favorite of 6.5 to 12 points since 1997.
Can Tulsa keep this game close on Friday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts opened the NCAA Tournament with a perfect 7-0 ATS mark in First Four games, making them a stellar 60% ATS (278-185-16) in college basketball Best Bets this season. StatFox Brian is on an amazing Best Bets run of 23-3-2 (89% ATS) since Feb. 6, 32-6-3 (84% ATS) since Jan. 17, and 74% ATS (57-20-3) since Nov. 26 to give him a robust 70% ATS (64-27-4) record in Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave is 65% ATS (41-22-1) since in Best Bets Dec. 18 and 61% ATS (58-37-2) this season, while StatFox Scott is 70% ATS (14-6-2) since Feb. 16 and 59% ATS (54-38-4) for the season. StatFox Gary is 61% ATS (50-32) on Best Bets since Nov. 22 and 57% ATS (54-40-2) for the season, while StatFox Zach 64% ATS (7-4) since March 2.
Tulsaís offense averages 73.1 PPG (112th in Div. I) on 44.2% shooting (180th in Div. I), while defensively, its limits opponents to a difficult 40.3% shooting clip and 67.4 PPG. Sophomore SG James Woodard (15.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG) leads the team in scoring, making 39% of his threes including 10-of-17 (59%) in his past three games. He scored 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting (4-of-5 threes) in the teamís Conference USA title-game victory against Louisiana Tech. PG Shaquille Harrison (9.8 PPG, 3.2 APG) takes care of the ball-handling duties, though is averaging just 1.0 APG over the teamís four most recent contests. Despite playing guard, Woodard is the only Tulsa player averaging more than 5.0 RPG. PF Rashad Smith (12.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG) is an effective scorer in the post, making 55% of his FG attempts, while SF DíAndre Wright (7.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG) makes contributions down low as well. Their best defensive asset down low is SF Brandon Swannegan (4.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG), who puts up a team-high 1.5 BPG in only 13.4 MPG.
The Bruins have a much more high-octane offense than the Golden Hurricane, producing 81.8 PPG (12th in Div. I) on 49.0% shooting (10th in nation), doling out an unselfish 17.2 APG (5th in Div. I). But they have room for improvement defensively, with opponents scoring 70.8 PPG on 42.9% shooting. Swingman Kyle Anderson (14.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 6.6 APG) is their most dangerous asset, as the sophomore has the size of a forward at 6-foot-9, but plays with the skills of a guard. He leads the team in rebounds and assists, and with 1.8 SPG is one of four Bruins averaging more than one steal per game. Sophomore SG Jordan Adams (17.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG) is the teamís top scorer, but also the teamís top defender, swiping an impressive 2.7 SPG. SG Normal Powell (11.3 PPG, 1.3 SPG) isnít a great shooter for a guard (30% threes) but makes up for it with his efficiency near the basket, shooting 54% from the field this season. Freshman SF Zach LaVine (10.0 PPG, 1.0 SPG) rounds out the teamís double-digit scorers, though he has struggled lately with just 4.3 PPG over the teamís past four contests, going 26% from the field in that span.