Scouting Report: UCLA

The Bruins are in big trouble. Not only are they riding a three-game losing streak, but, including exhibitions, they have won just 2-of-8 games at home this season. The Wildcats are rolling, winning seven straight games, but have not had a fast start since early in the season. The Cats would love to kick an old nemesis while they are down, and UCLA would love to jumpstart its season with a huge upset win.

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No. 2 Arizona (12-1, 5-0) at UCLA (4-8, 2-2)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2003
Time: 3 p.m. PST

Location: Pauley Pavilion (12,800), Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Ryan Hansen)
TV: ABC

LAST TIME OUT: Arizona came back do erase an 11-point second half deficit to beat USC 81-72. Five Wildcats finished in double figures, led by Hassan Adams' 21 points. UCLA got behind early and clawed back in the second half to make things interesting in their 75-64 loss to ASU.

LAST MEETING: Arizona lost a heartbreaker as Channing Frye's last second shot attempt missed and the Bruins held on to win 77-76 at Pauley Pavilion.

BACKCOURT: The Bruins just do not get good enough production out of their backcourt. The problems start at the point. Ryan Walcott was the starter against ASU and scored exactly one point, while dishing no assists and committing four turnovers. Walcott, Mike Bibby's cousin, sees the court better than the Bruins' other point guards, but just isn't a top-flight point guard.

Cedric Bozeman was thought to be the point guard of the future, but he doesn't have the skills to be a point guard. He doesn't see the court well, doesn't shoot well and doesn't handle the ball well.

Ray Young is the starter at the two-guard and was even worse against the Sun Devils than Walcott was. Young was held scoreless in 23 minutes. He did dish out three assists. Young has never lived up the hype he received coming out of high school. Young is scoring just 7.4 ppg, but has seen his scoring average drop since starting league play.

The strength of the team is at the small forward position. Jason Kapono is far and away the best player on the team. Kapono is one of the best outside shooters in the league and is a great scorer. He is a little slow of foot and is best when spotting up from behind the arc. Last year he torched the Wildcats' shorter defenders and you can bet the Cats will use Andre Iguodala and Hassan Adams to try to keep the talented senior in check.

The Bruins' second best player is Dijon Thompson another wing forward who comes off the bench. Thompson is a good scorer and is aggressive on the boards. Thompson was a player the Wildcat liked a lot in high school and is in the same mold as Adams and Iguodala, long and quick.

This game should be a test for the two freshmen, but not for the other Wildcat guards. Both Jason Gardner and Salim Stoudamire are far superior to Walcott and Young. Thompson, if he sees time at the two, could pose problems for one of these players, but they probably can't shut down both.

Adams and Iguodala will be tested on the defensive end, but can also do some damage themselves. Both had great games against USC and the Trojans are more talented. Luke Walton could also have a big game. Walton always poses a match-up problem and that could be exploited against the Bruins.

FRONTCOURT: The Bruins lack a true center and are weak all around up front. T.J Cummings and Andre Patterson make up the starting unit. Cummings is finally getting a chance to start and has responded with decent numbers. Cummings averages just over 12 points a game and grabs 5.5 rebounds. Patterson is less of a scoring threat, but is equally aggressive on the glass.

Josiah Johnson and Michael Fey are the two Bruin post players off the bench. Neither is much of a factor. Johnson has some bulk but not a lot of height (6-7). Fey isn't much of a factor on the glass or the score sheet.

The Wildcats are shortening the bench and that means there are more minutes for Channing Frye. Frye has been far more aggressive and is starting to resemble the player who dominated the Pac-10 last season. He's turning into a great shot blocker and is better on the boards.

Rick Anderson and Luke Walton are getting the bulk of the minutes at the four. Isaiah Fox and Dennis Latimore are the Wildcats' key reserves in the post.

OUTLOOK: The Bruins are in big trouble and would love to knock of the Wildcats. That's a tall order as the Bruins lack the talent to hang with Arizona. Unless the Wildcats come in and stink up the joint, they should win in a rout.


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