Breakdown: Arizona vs. UCLA

Arizona will travel to UCLA in hopes of starting the season 16-0. Read on to find out more about the game, including statistics, a score prediction, and more.



Arizona at UCLA
Jan. 9 at 7 pm
TV: ESPN
Pauley Pavilion

ARIZONA

UCLA
Overall Record 15-0 (1.000) 12-2 (.857)
Location Record 2-0 (1.000) on the road 10-0 (1.000) at home
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank) 74.9 (123) 54.9 (3) 87.1 (8) 70.1 (176)
Rebound Margin/G: RM(Rank) 12.1 (5) 4.3 (79)
Steals/G:
S(Rank)
5.7 (234) 10.7 (2)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
15.3 (49) 18.6 (5)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank) 48.5 (37) 52.7 (2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank) 37.0 (78) 40.7 (103)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank) 36.6 (5) 41.0 (92)
Ranking: Coaches' Poll #1 #25
Ranking:
AP Poll
#1 N/A

RPI

11 (.6606) 27 (.6131)
Point Guard

ADVANTAGE: UCLA
PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Jr.) vs. Kyle Anderson (6-9, 230, So.)

For the sake of this breakdown, Anderson is matched up with McConnell, but we're not going to see that on Thursday. Gordon, Hollis-Jefferson, and Ashley will get turns trying to guard Anderson, who is putting up a ridiculous 15 points, nine rebounds, and six assists per game. He finds a way to get into the lane with major success, but Arizona should be able to contain him with a more athletic forward. If not, it is going to be a long night.

Shooting Guard

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

This is definitely one of Johnson's toughest tests this season and some would say his toughest. Adams has had success against Arizona in the past because he is strong and is the type of player that is extremely dangerous when he gets into a rhythm. Johnson has to make sure that Adams never gets comfortable while also being aggressive on offense because Adams is not the best defender. If there is one player that winds up getting a large advantage, his team is going to get one too.

Small Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SF: Aaron Gordon (6-9, 225, Fr.) vs. Norman Powell (6-4, 215, Jr.)

This is where UCLA runs into some trouble. As we stated above, we doubt Gordon guards Powell, but Powell kind of has to guard Gordon if they go to man because Anderson likely won't be able to. Powell is a good defender, but the size and strength difference here is a problem for the Bruins. UCLA struggles on the defensive glass because of its zone defense, so we expect Gordon to have a similar game as he did to Washington in which he grabs double-digit rebounds and scores off plenty of them.

Power Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 230, So.) vs. David Wear (6-10, 230, Sr.)

Wear is pretty much doing what he did last season, but with a better shooting percentage. It seems that, for whatever reason, David comes out and plays well against Arizona. It is hard to expect him to do different, but Ashley is also an improved player. We don't think Wear is going to go nuts in this game, but Ashley should have success against UCLA's zone and his rebounding numbers should be solid. He is certainly the better player and gets the advantage because of it.

Center

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 235, So.) vs. Travis Wear (6-10, 230, Sr.)

Travis is not the same player he was last season, as his averages are completely down. He averages nearly half the points and rebounds as last season while shooting seven percent less and playing eight less minutes per game. Tarczewski is going to give Wear difficulty on defense and we would not be surprised if Arizona tries to establish him early and often as it has in a good amount of games this season.

Bench

ADVANTAGE: UCLA
Bench: The Bruins will basically go eight deep with Bryce Alford, Tony Parker, and Zach Lavine getting solid minutes. Alford is going exactly what the Bruins need him to do, but Parker and Lavine are the real keys here. Parker fouled out against USC, but dropped 16 in 19 minutes against Alabama and basically won that game for the Bruins. Lavine is as talented as they come, though he has been inconsistent in his last four games or so. Hollis-Jefferson is going to play a huge role in this one because we assume he is going to guard Anderson. Still, the Bruins go one deeper and it is quality.
Coaching

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Steve Alford

Alford has done a nice job with this year's team, especially with masking its weaknesses. He has been forced to go to zone and although it isn't strong at times, it is easily the best option for the Bruins and puts them in the best position to win. Offensively, the numbers UCLA is putting up rank among the best in the country. However, Arizona is undefeated for a few reasons and Miller has had much more tournament success than Alford.

Outcome

ADVANTAGE: UCLA
76 74
Prediction: This is a tough one. On paper, Arizona should win. It is a bigger team that is better on the glass and the zone defense UCLA plays leaves major holes for Arizona to rebound. This game could come down to the play of T.J. McConnell. He has to be able to run the offense against the zone and recognize opportunities. In addition, one of Arizona's athletic forwards needs to get the job done against Anderson. We think Arizona is better, but we also think that every team has to lose sometime. With Arizona going on the road against a team that matches up pretty well with it, we're going to go with the upset.


Wildcat Authority Top Stories