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UCLA Bruins Game Preview and Open Thread

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The Huskies go up against the best offense in the nation in UCLA.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Wednesday 3/1/17


Tip-Off Time: 8:00pm PST


TV: FS1


Radio: Komo 1000

UCLA Statistics:


Record: 26-3 (13-3)


Points For per Game: 91.6 ppg (1st)


Points Against per Game: 75.6 ppg (240th)


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 125.5(1st)


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 101.4 (94th)

UCLA Key Players:


C- Thomas Welsh, Jr. 7-0, 245: 10.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.0 apg, 58.4% FG, 93.8% FT


Welsh is one of the more frustrating match-ups in the conference. He's a tremendous shooter but his range doesn't extend all the way to the 3-point line so he'll kill you with mid-range jumpers. Yet, he's still 7 feet tall and can hurt you at the basket if you don't give him space. He's also 7th in the country in turnover rate so he's not going to make a mistake once he touches the ball.


T.J Leaf- , Fr. 6-10, 225: 16.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.6 apg, 63.1% FG, 67.9% FT, 46.2% 3pt


Leaf was the 13th ranked recruit coming into the season and he may just be the 13th best player in the country of any age. He's (again) 13th nationally in offensive efficiency and is also an elite rebounder and shot blocker. Leaf only takes a couple of three-pointers per game but makes almost half of him so he has to be guarded all the way out to the arc.


G- Isaac Hamilton, Sr. 6-5, 195: 13.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 44.6% FG, 80.5% FT, 34.7% 3pt


Hamilton leads the Bruins in field goal attempts so his scoring numbers are slightly inflated. On most teams he'd be a fine go-to-guy but on this loaded UCLA team he's probably better suited as the 4th option.


G- Bryce Alford, Sr. 6-3, 185: 16.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.7 apg, 47% FG, 82.2% FT, 45.4% 3pt


The coach's son is back again as possibly the most dangerous shooter in the Pac-12. Last season, he had less help but lit up the Dawgs for 28 and 30 points in their two games. His scoring numbers are all up and assist numbers are down now that he has a true point guard to play next to. This is likely what David Crisp's final form will look like his senior year.


G- Lonzo Ball, Fr. 6-6, 190: 14.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 7.6 apg, 53.8% FG, 65.3% FT, 41.4% 3pt


Ball has been every bit as impressive as Markelle Fultz in their freshmen seasons although in very different ways. Fultz actually has both a better assist and turnover percentage than Ball despite the raw counting stats. But Lonzo is a much more efficient scorer, particularly inside the arc. He completes the quartet of Bruins who rank in the top-30 nationally in offensive efficiency.

The Outlook


The previous game against UCLA might have been the low point of UW's season. During a near-sellout at Hec Ed the Bruins came in and dominated from start to finish in a 107-66 beatdown. Since then, UCLA has gone 5-0 including wins against both Oregon and Arizona and a similar 102-70 dismantling of cross-town rival USC. The Bruins have the best offense in the country and statistically are the 2nd best offense of the past decade. Their defense isn't great but they've moved into the top-100 in defensive efficiency so they're getting better on that end of the floor as well.


Every single player on the UCLA roster shoots better than 50% on 2-pointers and four different players shoot better than 40% on 3-pointers. The only weakness in the offense is that they are one of the worst teams in the country in drawing free throws but when you shoot this well from the field, it really doesn't matter that they aren't getting to the line.


This Husky team minus only Malik Dime were crushed at home and getting him back but losing Markelle Fultz is not an even trade. Fultz missed his 3rd game in the last 5 against Washington State and it doesn't look good for him to play in this contest. There has been rampant speculation that Fultz is sitting in order to not risk further injury and hurt his draft stock. That shouldn't apply against UCLA. Lonzo Ball is Fultz's primary competitor for the #1 pick in June and if he outplays Ball even in a big loss that will do wonders to secure going #1 overall. Sitting this game out to open himself up to whispers about his competitiveness will likely do him more harm than good. If Fultz doesn't play it means the knee soreness is legitimate and he can't be an effective player right now. But even with Fultz at full health the Huskies are out of their depths in this matchup. If they go zone, UCLA will torch them from distance. If they play man, Ball has the vision to find every hole in the defense. Absolutely everything went wrong for the Dawgs against UCLA last time but it's hard to see them doing much better tonight.

Prediction


Washington Huskies- 72, UCLA Bruins- 101