Date: Saturday, 1/16/21
Tip-Off Time: 2:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Los Angeles, California
Betting line: Washington +16
UCLA Bruins 2020-21 Statistics:
Record: 10-2 (6-0)
Points For per Game: 77.6 ppg (55th)
Points Against per Game: 68.0 ppg (104th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 116.0 (9th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.1 (72nd)
Strength of Schedule: 53rd
UCLA Key Players:
G- Tyger Campbell, So. 5’11, 180: 12.0 ppg, 3.5rpg, 6.5 ast, 45.0% FG, 29.0% 3pt, 75.0% FT
Now fully recovered from his ACL tear, Campbell has become the best facilitator in the Pac-12. He still struggles to make shots from the outside but a 3.5/1 A/TO ratio means you can get away with not being a lights out shooter. He’s the engine that makes the UCLA offense run.
G- Jaime Jaquez, So. 6’6, 220: 13.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 49.1% FG, 45.2% 3pt, 66.7% FT
Last year Jaquez shot 32% from deep so there’s a chance that his current shooting stats will fall back to earth but it isn’t impossible that he just made huge gains in that area between his freshman and sophomore seasons. He’s a really solid rebounder for a wing as well and one of the closest statistical/physical comps for Jaquez on KenPom right now is Jimmy Butler.
G- Johnny Juzang, So. 6’6, 210: 12.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 42.0% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 89.5% FT
Juzang missed the first 4 games of the season coming off an injury and his transfer from Kentucky but he has found his stroke recently as he’s 6/10 from 3-pt range in UCLA’s past 2 contests. If Washington’s zone loses track of Juzang he’s definitely capable of making them pay or just shooting over them even if they don’t leave him open.
G- Jules Bernard, Jr. 6’6, 205: 9.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 47.4% FG, 34.5% 3pt, 75.6% FT
Bernard is another player that has leveled up for UCLA as he’s picked up his rebounding and interior scoring while cutting down on turnovers from last year. He’s had multiple offensive rebounds in over half of UCLA’s games so expect him to set a season high in that regard against UW’s zone.
F- Cody Riley, Jr. 6’9, 255: 10.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 57.5% FG, 68.9% FT
With UCLA running a 4 guard/wing lineup it has given Riley plenty of space to work inside. He’s one of the best rebounders in the conference even though he isn’t much of a rim protector. In Pac-12 games so far he’s in the top-4 of both offensive and defensive rebounding rates so a double double against UW seems very likely.
UCLA 2020-21 Shot Chart
The Bruins entered the season as one of the conference favorites and they’ve lived up to that billing as the last undefeated team in Pac-12 play. They’ve managed that even with an ACL tear for Chris Smith who was widely considered their best player before the injury. Without Smith the Bruins run an 8-man rotation primarily with a lot of guys averaging between 18 and 28 minutes per game. 6 different UCLA players average between 9.5 and 13.5 points per game so they get it done by committee.
And that approach has worked wonders for UCLA. They are 9th nationally in offensive efficiency by virtue of being above average at everything and spectacular at nothing. They shoot well, they get offensive rebounds, they don’t turn the ball over much, and they get to the free throw line at a decent rate. If there’s one defining offensive trait it’s that they don’t shoot very many 3-pointers but do convert at a high rate when they take them.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that UCLA looks like a well tuned machine on offense considering they’re 6th in the country in minutes continuity and would rank even higher without the injury to Smith. That chemistry should allow them to shred the UW zone. Washington has made defense their calling card in recent seasons but they’ve given up 80+ points in each of the last 5 games.
On the other end is where UCLA has been more vulnerable. Considering they start 3 6’6 wings it might not be surprising that they’re generally better defenders on the perimeter than inside. Opponents are shooting just 30% from 3-pt range against UCLA so they sell out to stop the outside shot and are vulnerable inside. That doesn’t sound like a great matchup for a Washington team that really struggles to penetrate or have a big capable of posting up to score down low.
If Washington wants to have any chance in this game then their bigs need to play the game of their lives. Nate Roberts needs to put up a double double and get UCLA’s thin interior depth into foul trouble and Washington’s ball movement needs to step up a notch. On defense Washington needs to hope that in comparison to USC’s gargantuan lineup that they’ll be able to rebound much better against UCLA which relies more on quickness than raw length. But based on the way these teams are playing it seems like a miracle would be needed for it to stay close.
Washington Huskies- 69, UCLA Bruins- 92
Keep up with the game in the comments below. You can also follow me for all your UW Men’s Basketball News and Game Updates @UWDP_maxvroom