Drew's assist to turnover ratio is fantastic and he has been a pleasant surprise for the Bruins this season. However, he is not a big scorer and tends to struggle when the man he is guarding goes right at the basket. This is where Thursday's game gets tricky for him, as Lyons is strong enough to guard Drew defensively and quick and aggressive enough to get to the basket. Drew is likely to have solid assist numbers, but Lyons should be able to score plenty of points and it is unlikely that Drew forces him into a lot of turnovers.
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Jordan Adams (6-5, 220, Fr.)
Adams may be a slightly better scorer here, but the players are similar in the impact they are likely to have. Adams is more likely to score more than Johnson, but Johnson is easily the better defender between the two. A closer look at Adam's numbers in Pac-12 play makes you wonder if the freshman has hit a wall, similar to how Johnson did last year. Adams only scored nine points combined against the Oregon schools and has only made five of his last 20 attempts from behind the arc. It would not surprise us to see Johnson wind up with the advantage here because of his defense, but we would be somewhat surprised if Adams did.
SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. Shabazz Muhammad (6-6, 225, Fr.)
There is no doubt that Muhammad can score with the best of them. He now has a consistent three-point shot and does a nice job of scoring in a variety of ways. Muhammad can get you in the post, behind the arc, or off of rebounds. However, that is going to be harder to come by against Hill, who is a better defender than Muhammad. Muhammad may be a better pure scorer than Hill, but he has not seen an environment like McKale and Hill is the more experienced player. We would be surprised if Muhammad outplayed Hill, but we expect Hill to out play Muhammad, who has struggled somewhat in conference play.
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 235, Fr.) vs. Kyle Anderson (6-9, 235, Fr.)
Anderson gets criticized for his speed but somehow finds a way to be successful. This year, he is averaging nine points and nine rebounds while playing a variety of roles for the Bruins. Anderson also still averages nearly four assists and is easily UCLA's most versatile player. Due to the fact that Anderson is not fast, you would assume that Ashley could stay in front of him and have a good chance to really shut him down, but not a lot of teams have done that as of late with Anderson scoring in double figures in five of his last six games. The big difference here is that while Ashley probably has better potential and his defense is coming around, Anderson has easily been the more consistent of the two.
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Travis Wear (6-10, 230, Jr.)
Tarczewski is easily the more physical player of the two and Wear is going to struggle with him on the block. The issue is that Wear can cause Tarczewski to struggle by bringing him closer to the perimeter. This is an intriguing matchup because while both are centers, the style of play is almost completely different. As much disrespect as the Wears get, Travis has put together a good offensive season, averaging 12 points. He has not scored less than 17 points or shot less than 57 percent in his last three games. If Tarczewski can put a body on him in the post and get a hand in his face at all times, there is a chance to limit him here. If he is able to do that, UCLA's chances of winning decrease dramatically.
Bench: UCLA basically goes seven deep with the Bruins using Tony Parker once in a while. Due to Arizona's size, it would not be a surprise to see Parker get some minutes, but a lot of it depends on whether or not Howland trusts him on the road. Norman Powell will be the first guard off the bench and is a good defender, which is why he sees nearly 23 minutes per game. However, the offensive potential with him and David Wear is not much. Arizona will be able to match Wear with Grant Jerrett and Parrom is better than Powell, thus the Wildcats get the advantage.
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Ben Howland
Howland is not a bad coach by any means, but he may have hit his ceiling as the coach of UCLA. Most indications are that, barring a miracle run, Howland is going to lose his job after the season. You can argue whether or not this is justified due to Howland's past success, but Miller is not getting fired any time soon.
Prediction: Oregon was able to defeat UCLA by being aggressive to the basket, taking open three-pointers, and rebounding. Arizona will likely stress the same three things and is just as good as Oregon at all three of them. The Wildcats are able to match UCLA defensively and can also choose to go small, creating problems for the Bruins. While a UCLA win would not be crazy because of its offensive ability, we do see some difficulty for the Bruins in stopping Arizona. Throw in the type of atmosphere that UCLA will see at McKale and you should have a recipe for an Arizona win.
Arizona 78, UCLA 71