Breakdown: Arizona vs. UCLA

Arizona will face UCLA on Saturday. Read on for a complete positional breakdown, including a score prediction.

PG: Mark Lyons (6-1, 200, Sr.) vs. Larry Drew (6-2, 180, Sr.)

The disappointment in the first matchup was not necessarily that Drew controlled the game offensively for UCLA, but rather that Lyons did not have a better offensive game. Drew is not a player known for his defense and an aggressive Lyons should have been able to score on him. Instead, Lyons struggled from the field and finished 6-17. Drew has struggled in his past five games, as he has turned it over 25 times and been more aggressive shooting it, which is not his strength. This matchup is going to go however Lyons decides he wants it to go. If he wants to pull up deep from three and not attack, he will struggle. If he decides to take it to the basket, he is likely to have success. We're guessing Lyons plays better than he did against USC, but it is difficult to make this even because he just can't be relied on for any type of consistency. If he plays like he did in the first game, Arizona is going to lose.

Advantage: UCLA

SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Jordan Adams (6-5, 220, Fr.)

Johnson had his best offensive game of the season in the first meeting, going 9-19 from the field to score 23 points. He played 33 minutes before fouling out, but only turned the ball over once and made Adams work for each of his 15 points. The problem here is that the Johnson that we saw in the first meeting is not the same one we are seeing now. He is completely struggling and only played 23 minutes against USC. Adams is 21-34 from the field in his last three games and is playing some of his best basketball of the season. Considering Arizona's perimeter defense as of late, this is a scary matchup for Arizona.

Advantage: UCLA

SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. Shabazz Muhammad (6-6, 225, Fr.)

Arizona did not have much of an answer for Muhammad in the first game and the thought is that it will send numerous looks his way in the second. Some may assume that Parrom is going to get a look here, but it has to be Hill. The senior knows what is at stake and is a better defender than Parrom at the moment. Hill had a solid game in the first meeting with his ability on the glass, but Muhammad doubled up his points. The freshman has an ankle sprain and although he will play, we truly do not know the extent of it until we see him on the court. This game is not bigger for any player than it is for Hill. He has called out the freshmen as of late and a loss would mean a sweep by UCLA in his final season. If Muhammad outplays him, UCLA is likely to win the game. Simply put, Arizona needs Hill to show up.

Advantage: Even

PF: Kevin Parrom (6-6, 220, Sr.) vs. Kyle Anderson (6-9, 235, Fr.)

Parrom's defense as of late has left something to be desired and this game is not going to be any easier. Anderson has been looking for his shot more, which makes him more dangerous. The biggest strength he has right now though is his ability to rebound, as shown by 15 against ASU and 13 against Stanford. Parrom's biggest responsibility will be to keep him off the glass and limit his ability to make plays. He should be able to match Anderson's points, but this matchup goes way beyond that. Parrom absolutely needs to limit what Anderson does for his teammates, or Arizona is going to have to look to someone else, such as Brandon Ashley.

Advantage: UCLA

C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 255, Fr.) vs. Travis Wear (6-10, 230, Jr.)

Tarczewski only played 15 minutes in the first game and we can't see him playing much more in this one. Wear wants no part of the post and that is the only place Tarczewski wants to be. Wear left the first game with a concussion, but he was 3-3 from the field in the 11 minutes that he did play. Tarczewski did not score and only grabbed one rebound, looking completely out of place in the process. This just is not a good matchup for him and it is one in which Grant Jerrett and Brandon Ashley are going to have to step up. If Arizona can get a legitimate line from Tarczewski, it will make the entire team's job easier.

Advantage: UCLA

Bench: David Wear went for 15 and 8 in the first meeting, but he also played 31 minutes due to his brother's injury and probably had one of the better games of his career. Norman Powell will get about 15 minutes and Tony Parker may get some playing time as well. Parker played well in the first meeting, getting six points and three rebounds in ten minutes. Still, depth has been an issue for UCLA in the weekend games, as there has been a drop off in the overall quality of play. With David Wear going for 38 minutes against ASU, it will be interesting to see how he responds here. We're giving Arizona the advantage because Ashley and Jerrett are actually tough matchups for the Wear twins. It is not a big advantage, but Arizona should have the better bench.

Advantage: Arizona

Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Ben Howland

Howland likely can't save his job unless UCLA makes a deep run, but he deserves credit for what he has done. Despite hearing about how he is going to get fired, the Bruins have a legitimate shot at winning the Pac-12 title. We don't think either team is going to win this game because of coaching, but it will likely be something that is talked about after.

Advantage: Even

Prediction: I have not thought for a minute that Arizona is going to win this game, which is a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. It's not even that I believe UCLA is a better team, but rather that Arizona just does not match up well. The Wildcats can't defend and the Bruins are one of the best offensive teams in the country. Arizona can't have offensive lapses and it has to defend. We have not seen those two things come together consistently and although the Washington game was a good one, UCLA is a different animal. The Bruins are going to make Arizona defend and until we have confidence that the Wildcats can do that, it is hard to pick them.

UCLA 83, Arizona 75


Wildcat Authority Top Stories