Breakdown: Arizona vs. UCLA

Arizona gets its only regular season shot at UCLA on Saturday. Read on to find out more about the game, including stats, a positional breakdown, and a score prediction.


UCLA at Arizona
Feb. 21 at 7 pm
TV: ESPN
McKale Center

ARIZONA

UCLA
Overall Record
23-3 (.884)
16-11 (.592)
Location Record
13-0 (1.000) at home
2-7 (.222) on the road
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank)
75.9 (24)
59.3 (22)
71.3 (80)
68.2 (225)
Rebound Margin/G: RM (Rank)
7.9 (14)
4.8 (39)
Steals/G:
S (Rank)
7.4 (62)
6.7 (131)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
13.8 (92)
13.8 (92)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank)
49.7 (7)
42.7 (219)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank)
35.7 (112)
35.1 (133)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank)
40.1 (68)
41.7 (121)
Ranking:
Coaches' Poll
#7
NR
Ranking:
AP Poll
#7
NR
Ranking: KenPom
3 (.9594)
44 (.7997)
RPI
7 (.6549)
45 (.5776)
Point Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PG: PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Sr.) vs. Bryce Alford (6-3, 180, So.)

This is a bad matchup for Alford. For starters, McConnell is going to make him play defense off the dribble, which he is not very good at. Offensively, McConnell is going to make him earn his points by getting to the basket rather than jump shooting. Alford’s father is going to have to draw up a game plan to get his son open or Arizona is going to neutralize him. Bryce is shooting around 30 percent in conference play and although he can always get hot from the field, we don’t see that happening Saturday.
Shooting Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SG: Stanley Johnson (6-7, 245, Fr.) vs. Isaac Hamilton (6-5, 185, So.)

It feels like Hamilton is going to play well or play poorly and there isn’t much of an in between. He does have the ability to score if his outside jumper is falling, but he tends to be a player that feeds a lot off confidence. The Bruins are going to have to go zone because of a few reasons, one of which is that Hamilton has no chance of guarding Johnson. Stanley’s defense has been inconsistent, so he needs to be careful.
Small Forward

ADVANTAGE: Even
SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6-7, 220, So.) vs. Norman Powell (6-4, 215, Sr.)

Powell is probably UCLA’s most important player because it is difficult to imagine the Bruins winning if he does not play well. He has played very well in his last two games and you can make an argument that he did not get as many touches as he deserves, as a certain point guard usually takes them away from him. Unfortunately for Powell, he has to go up against the best defender in the conference for the majority of the game.
Power Forward

ADVANTAGE: UCLA
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-9, 230, Jr.) vs. Kevon Looney (6-9, 220, Fr.)

Looney is among the better freshmen in the country, especially on the glass. We have a feeling Alford will put him on top of the zone on Saturday in order to make life more difficult for McConnell, but that is also dangerous because it keeps him away from the glass. Looney is at his best when he is close to the basket and Ashley will likely have a difficult time guarding him. We imagine Hollis-Jefferson will get some run here as well and Arizona will go small a bit, as this is the scariest matchup for the Wildcats.
Center

ADVANTAGE: Even
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 245, Jr.) vs. Tony Parker (6-9, 260, Jr.)

Parker is actually a pretty good player when he decides to show up, but you just never know when that will be. Against Arizona State for instance, he looked like he would rather be doing about 100 other things than playing basketball and it showed with his two points, five foul performance. Tarczewski is in the midst of the best stretch of his career and considering Parker struggles with fouls, Arizona would be smart to feed him early.
Bench

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Bench: Thomas Welsh is going to be good for the Bruins, but he is not there just yet. Noah Allen and Gyorgy Goloman will see minutes mostly to rest the starters. Arizona can match UCLA’s height off the bench and is certainly the deeper team. Should the Bruins get in foul trouble, it is dangerous territory.
Coaching

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Steve Alford

While I don’t think Alford is as bad as others may feel, what he has done with the freedom he gives his son is probably worth the criticism. There’s no reason Bryce Alford should be taking the most shots on a team with Norman Powell and Kevon Looney. That falls solely on the coach, who doesn’t seem to care much.

Outcome

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
78
64
Prediction: After the loss to Arizona State, you have to wonder if the wheels are close to falling off for the Bruins. Then again, it could just be a loss to a team that is playing very well right now. Arizona is good at home to put it lightly and UCLA isn’t very good on the road. If Arizona comes and defends, the Wildcats are the better team. If not, it is going to get caught in a game that’s closer than it should be. After last year, we’re guessing the motivation is there.

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