University of California, Los Angeles (Public – Research Institution)
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Current Record: 12-9 (5-4 in Pac-12 Conference)
RPI: 117 SOS: 88
Coach: Ben Howland (9th year)
First Thought: UCLA has been through a lot this year but they have strung together a winning record in both non-conference and in the Pac-12. The still aren’t nearly the caliber team that many expected them to be before the season but they have plenty of talent and Ben Howland is learning to use it to put together wins.
Best Win: 71-63 over Richmond (RPI 128)
Worst Loss: 58-69 to Loyola Marymount (RPI 108)
Last Game: 77-60 over Colorado (RPI 78)
Synopsis: This is Coach Lorenzo Romar’s 500th game coaching and he is looking to make it a successful one. If the Huskies win tonight they will also have beat the Bruins in four straight which would be a record against UCLA. The Bruins are starting to get back on track in what looked to be a colossal failure to start the season. To open the season, the Bruins lost two straight to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State, and only a win to Chaminade (a D-2 school) helped them find a win.
Now, things are looking up for the Bruins, they have won five of their last seven and two straight. These team is full of potential and talent but often fails to execute to get the win.
My analysis: The resurgence of this team has come from about six players really putting together quality games and big minutes. There is still a lot of work for them to do but many of the wins have come from the below six players contributing to put together a win.
Lazeric Jones is the best player (in terms of stats) on the court for the Bruins, he is probably also the most valuable player. He is averaging 13.4 points a game out and has scored 14+ in four of his last five games. He also is shooting 39% from deep, with 28 made 3-pointers this season. He averages 3.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.9 steals a game. He makes his mark all over the court out of the point guard position.
Travis Wear is one of the two Wear twins on the UCLA basketball team and he has been really stepping up his game recently. Since the Arizona game he has scored 20, 16, 19, 16, 17, 8, and 14. He averages only 12 points a game but as you can tell that total is on the rise. He knows how to score and finds ways to do it. He also averages 5 rebounds a game.
David Wear is the other of the two Wear twins and he can be just as deadly. He averages 10 points a game and hasn’t dipped below double-figures in 5 games. He brings down about 6 rebounds a game.
Josh Smith is the biggest guy on a team that is full of big men. He is 6-10, 305 pounds and knows how to take up the key. However, conditioning is a big issue for him. He struggles to stay in the game because of his stamina. He averages 9.65 points a game on only 17.6 minutes. He isn’t overly impressive at rebounding considering his size but he still averages almost 5 a game.
Tyler Lamb is the only player that has started every game this year for the Bruins. He logs in at almost 31 minutes a game and that alone shows the value he is to the team and Coach Howland. He averages 9.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.
Jerime Anderson is very similar in production to Lamb, he averages around 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists a game.
My Prediction: UW 71 UCLA 65
This is on the Husky home-floor, a place where UW can and should win almost every time they step onto the court. The Huskies have been playing solid basketball lately and coming home shouldn’t change that but only help it. The Bruins have the ability to take this game, but I think it is a game that is length versus length and UW has the more athletic and versatile of the teams with length.