Jan. 06, 2017
UCLA Bruins host California Bears in PAC-12 showdown
The UCLA Bruins (14-1, 1-1) come into their PAC-12 home opener as the No. 4 leading scoring team in college basketball. They average 93.9 points per game. However, the Bruins have not reached this scoring margin in the last four games. In fact, the Bruins are only scoring 81.5 points per game in conference play.
Meanwhile, the California Bears (10-4, 1-1) come into the showdown under the radar. So far, the Bears don't score nearly as well as the Bruins. They are averaging 71 points per game this season. Fortunately, the Bears have a few players that can fill up the box score. Yet, it's the defensive end where the Bears will make their money.
During their two PAC-12 contests, the Bears are holding opponents to 66 points per game. In the loss to Arizona, the Bears held the Wildcats to 20 percent shooting. Overall, they are holding opponents to 28.5 percent shooting from 3-point range. However, the Bears will have to play tremendous defense and hope for the best on Thursday.
The Bruins come into the game, connecting on 42.4 percent of their 3-point shots. They are the No. 3 3-point shooting team in the country. Four regular players shoot over 40 percent from downtown. Aaron Holiday leads the team at 50 percent from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Bryce Alford leads the team with 6.1 3-point attempts per game.
Offensively, the Bruins have six players averaging double figures. T.J. Leaf leads the Bruins with 17.5 points per game. The Bruins most dynamic player is Lonzo Ball. He averages 14.3 points and 8.1 assists per game. The Bruins also lead the country in assists. Their passing game is highly efficient. Therefore, they get great shots throughout the game.
Ivan Rabb averages a double-double for the Bears. He is part of a trio averaging 15 points per game. Rabb also grabs 10 rebounds per game for the Bears. He must be the best player on the floor if California wants to pull the upset.
Despite losing last week, the Bruins may have a chance to move up in the Top 25 rankings. First, they need to take care of business at home. Maybe the Bruins end up as the No. 1 team in college basketball by Monday.