Johnson has been struggling enough as it is and to ask him to man the point in a win or go home situation against a solid defender just is not very fair. Anderson scored 20 points in the last meeting and while we would be surprised if he matched that output, the guess here is that he will be aggressive. Johnson will have to defend better than he has all season and it is simply asking too much of him considering where he is as a player.
Arizona's scouting report has been to take Jones out of the game and Fogg has done a very good job in two meetings this season. In addition, Fogg will absolutely need to step up with Josiah Turner gone and you get the feeling that if his career at Arizona is going to end, it is not going to end with Fogg having a bad game. Arizona will rely heavily on Fogg and needs to if it is going to have any chance of winning. Jones will try to get involved early, but Fogg's defense should be enough to frustrate him yet again.
Arizona has no choice but to play Lavender big minutes and it will be interesting to see how he responds. The Wildcats' best bet would be to try to get him going early because once Lavender does that, he seems to be a much better player. In the last meeting, UCLA did a great job of closing off on Lavender and making life extremely difficult for him. That will be an integral part of the Bruins' game plan again, because Lavender is not very effective unless he is hitting threes. Thankfully for Arizona, Lamb has struggled in both meetings, making it difficult to give the Bruins an advantage here.
Wear is a complete problem for Arizona because the Wildcats have difficulty matching up. Hill may be quicker on the perimeter, but he is smaller when in the post and the Bruins do a good job of exploiting that. Even when Wear scored eight points in the last meeting, he still had nine rebounds and was effective from the field. Hill is going to need to step up in a big way on both ends of the court if Arizona is going to have a chance. In the past, Hill has done a good job of being even with Wear in terms of numbers, which is why we are making this one even.
Travis Wear is another issue for Arizona because he is able to stretch the defense and attack the offensive glass. However, Perry has done well in this matchup because he is quick enough to keep up with Wear and poses major fits for Josh Smith. Perry seems worn down a bit and the guess here is that UCLA goes at him early to see if it can get him in some foul trouble. He posted 16 and 8 in the last meeting and was very aggressive going to the basket. This is yet another difficult matchup for us to predict because both players are good enough to match the other, but neither may be able to dominate the matchup.
Bench: Arizona is not a deep team to begin with and the absence of Turner makes it even worse. True, Jordin Mayes is back, but it is unknown how many minutes he can give Arizona. The real issue here is Josh Smith if he is able to stay in the game. Arizona really has no answer for him and if Smith can play legitimate minutes, the Wildcats are in trouble. We like Angelo Chol, but Arizona has no explosive player coming off the bench with Lavender likely starting, so energy will be a question.
Coaches: Sean Miller vs. Ben Howland
Howland has seen his team play better basketball in the past few weeks and Arizona's loss to Arizona State was crushing. This is not the type of advantage to decide a game and each coach has their positives, so we will chalk it up to being even.
Prediction: It would not be a surprise to see Arizona rally around the loss of Josiah Turner and the Bruins struggled on Wednesday, thus forcing Jerime Anderson to play 36 minutes, Lazeric Jones to play 38 minutes, and the Wear twins to play about 30. It will be interesting to see how UCLA comes out one day after a game whereas Arizona is a bit more rested. The real concern is how the Wildcats react to losing to Arizona State and basically knowing that only a Pac-12 title can put the UA in the postseason. This is a very even matchup, but our guess is that Arizona gets in a bit of foul trouble and it costs the Wildcats.
UCLA 72, Arizona 65