How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Saturday, 2/19/22
Tip-Off Time: 7:00 pm PT
Radio: Huskies Gameday App & KJR 950 AM
Location: Los Angeles, California
#13 UCLA 2021-22 Statistics:
Record: 18-5 (10-4)
Points For per Game: 77.1 ppg (30th)
Points Against per Game: 65.5 ppg (63rd)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 115.2 (18th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 90.6 (14th)
Strength of Schedule: 24th
UCLA Bruins Key Players:
G- Tyger Campbell, Jr. 5’11, 180: 12.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.6 apg, 43.1% FG, 41.7% 3pt, 82.8% FT
The Bruins point guard was suspended for Thursday night’s game against WSU due to a violation of team rules but it sounds like he’ll be back tonight and UCLA didn’t seem to miss him much. He has taken a major leap this year with a better than 3 to 1 A-TO ratio while leading the team in steals and shooting nearly 42% from 3-pt range. He’ll be relied upon to break down UW’s zone.
G- Jules Bernard, Jr. 6’7, 210: 12.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 40.3% FG, 31.1% 3pt, 78.3% FT
We now get to UCLA’s army of wings. Bernard has slumped in Pac-12 play shooting just 22% on 3-pt attempts after making 41% last year in conference play. In UCLA’s 3 most recent losses he shot a combined 9/34 from the floor so if he has a terrible game the odds go way up that the Huskies can keep up with the Bruins.
G- Johnny Juzang, Jr. 6’7. 215: 17.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 45.1% FG, 39.0% 3pt, 79.0% FT
There’s no question Juzang entered the season as a 1st team All-American favorite and has mostly lived up to the hype as 18 points per game is pretty darn good even if the team is too well balanced for him to truly go nuts. Similar to Bernard, UCLA is 3-3 when Juzang scores 12 or fewer points and 13-2 when he goes for at least 13. Last year against UW he had 3 points in the first meeting and then 32 in the 2nd so we’ll see how he reacts to the zone this time around.
F- Jaime Jaquez, Jr. 6'7, 225: 12.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, 46.3% FG, 27.1% 3pt, 69.0% FT
Jaquez has been dealing with a lingering ankle injury for the past 6 games even though he hasn’t sat out. He played all 50 minutes in the 3OT loss to Arizona State but has scored 19 combined points in the 3 games since. He’s the player who can thrive against the middle of UW’s zone if he’s feeling right but the Huskies are hoping he’s still not 100%.
C- Cody Riley, Sr. 6’9, 250: 8.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 50.0% FG, 68.2% FT
Riley splits center duties with Myles Johnson and has generally started all year although Johnson was the first one out there on Thursday against WSU. He’s a subpar rebounder and shot blocker for a center but is capable of stretching the floor a little bit with his ability to knock down midrange and baseline jumpers.
I can guarantee you that right now Mike Hopkins is tired of seeing a little number in front of the other team on the schedule. This is UW’s 3rd straight game against a ranked team and it will take a lot to go right to avoid ending up 0-3 during that stretch.
If there’s one piece of good news it’s that UCLA has a slightly different profile than USC and Arizona before them. Those 2 teams are both among the handful of tallest in the country and while UCLA isn’t small they have size in different ways. The Bruins generally play 3 6’7 or 6’8 wings at a time so they’re really big at the shooting guard spot but slightly small at the power forward spot. Their two centers split essentially all the minutes at the 5 and are somewhat opposites as Johnson is a 6’10 elite offensive rebounder/shot blocker while Riley is 6’9 and plays more like a wing. Finally, 5’11 Tyger Campbell at the point guard spot brings down that height average.
The end results is a team that is much more about finesse than bully ball. On Thursday night USC assisted on 28 of 30 made baskets. UCLA has a lot of guys that like to create their own offense and score in isolation which is normally a strategy that doesn’t work very well against the zone. The Huskies have to hope that the J’s (Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez) decide to try a ton of tough pull up midrange shots that aren’t falling rather than take the time to work the ball against the zone. The Bruins are a fine rebounding team but they aren’t nearly the juggernauts in that regard that Arizona and USC are.
The bigger problem with UCLA’s offense will be ball security. Washington’s surge in Pac-12 play was largely built off the ability to force a constant stream of turnovers and convert them into fast break points in transition. UCLA is 4th in the country in turnover percentage on offense. They just don’t give away the ball. That’s a bad sign for the Huskies’ ability to score on the other end which is predicated on not facing a set half court defense.
When the Huskies have lost it has often been because the other team has a bigger option with which to defend Terrell Brown Jr. I’m not expecting Daejon Davis to be available for Washington which means Tyger Campbell will likely start out on PJ Fuller and Terrell Brown Jr. will almost certainly start every possession with a 6’7 defender against him. It will be critical for Brown to get help in this game and recent history shows against a team with an offense like UCLA has that it’s unlikely for more than 1 other guy to step up.
If you’re looking for hope it’s that the Bruins lost in 3OT at Arizona State 2 weeks ago, a team which the Huskies crushed in Seattle. It’s possible for UCLA to lose a game against a squad of UW’s talent level. That was on the road though. The Bruins are 6-1 at home in conference play with all of the wins coming by at least 12 points and the last 5 all coming by at least 16. The Huskies haven’t given much of an indication they’ll be able to change that.
Washington Huskies- 66, #13 UCLA Bruins- 85