UCLA is 9-6 on the season and 0-2 in Pac-12 play, having lost both games on the road to the Washington schools last weekend. UCLA has lost three out of their last four, but have noteworthy wins against UNLV, Gonzaga and Kentucky and played number 1 ranked Kansas and North Carolina. The Bruins are a dangerous team with upside, and when playing well they can beat anyone.
Bryce Alford vs Kadeem Allen – Alford is UCLA’s leader and most seasoned player, averaging 16.9 points and shooting 36% from three on 5 attempts a game. He is their big shot taker and maker, and the team thrives when he knocks down a couple from long range. Allen continued his steady play against ASU. He was able to penetrate their defense for layups and was active defensively with 1 steal and an impressive 3 blocks.
Isaac Hamilton vs Allonzo Trier – Hamilton, UCLA’s second leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, is the tall athletic wing Arizona has had trouble defending so far this year. Trier continued his efficient play against ASU, scoring 20 points on just 10 shot attempts. When York and Trier are clicking on the outside, it gives Arizona opponents a different look as they are unable to key in on one perimeter player, which makes Arizona extremely difficult to beat.
Thomas Welsh vs Dusan Ristic – Welsh is a skilled big man who is adept at shooting the midrange jumper off of pick and rolls. It will be important for Ristic to be able to show and recover quickly to Welsh, forcing him to pass or dribble instead of shooting the jumper comfortably. Ristic is coming off a stellar offensive game against ASU, where he was able to use jump hooks with either hand against the smaller Sun Devil players.
Kaleb Tarczewski was effective in his first game back from a stress reaction and strained muscle in his left foot and showed no ill effects from the injury. He was able to hedge out hard on pick and rolls, protect the rim, rebound and finish in traffic. Tarczewski also made 4-5 free throws and even got a technical foul. Coach Miller wasn’t happy about the technical, but it showed a side of Tarczewski we rarely see, a fiery one. Hopefully Tarzcewski plays with great emotion the rest of the season as he is one of the team’s leaders, but channels it positively.
Parker Jackson Cartwright played well against ASU and broke out of his slump. He was able to penetrate, feeding Tarczewski for an and one, made a tremendous cross court skip pass to set up a York three pointer and knocked down one himself in the second half.
What To Look For
Turnovers. Arizona had 8 turnovers against ASU, which is a remarkably low number on the road. If they can play with a similar number against UCLA, they will have a great chance of winning.
Defense. Arizona’s defense wasn’t up to par for the first portion of the first half against ASU, but for the rest of the game it was solid. With Tarczewski back, Arizona’s interior defense will be much tougher to score on.
Scoring. Arizona’s offense has been on a roll as of late. They scored 80+ points six games in a row. This year’s team is much more well-rounded on offense with numerous players being able to score.
Rebounds. UCLA is a big team and keeping them off the glass will be key. The matchup of Tony Parker vs Ryan Anderson will be intriguing, as they both lead their respective teams in rebounding.
UCLA is a talented team that will be looking to get back on track with a win against Arizona. The Pauley Pavilion crowd will be hostile, especially after Coach Miller’s indirect comments in November about their lack of crowd support, which the UCLA blogs picked up on. Arizona and UCLA have historically had the best rivalry in conference, and with the hire of Steve Alford, it is renewed as both schools vie for the same coveted recruits. Arizona will need to bring their A game in an antagonistic environment against a UCLA team that is very capable and motivated, and will surely give Arizona their best shot.
Allonzo Trier wore the Kyrie 2 Effect against Long Beach State and the LeBron XII What The against ASU.