DATE & TIME: Monday, November 16th, 11:59 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pauley Pavilion (12,800) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: ESPN. Home Record: CSUF 1-0, UCLA 0-0. Away Record: CSUF 0-0, UCLA 0-0. Neutral Record: CSUF 0-0, UCLA 0-0. Conference Record: CSUF 0-0, UCLA 0-0. Series Record: UCLA leads, 9-0.
GAME NOTES: The UCLA Bruins get their 2009-10 campaign underway tonight, as they host the Cal State Fullerton Titans in a non-league matchup at Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins are coming off a somewhat disappointing season, for their standards, as they went 26-9 and were ousted in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09. While that is not a bad showing, it was a drop off after averaging 32 wins and making three straight Final Four appearances. Ben Howland's club doesn't enter this season with nearly the same kind of expectations as the past few years, as UCLA must replace four starters from the 2008-09 squad.
As for the Titans, their kicked off their campaign with a convincing win on Saturday, capturing a 93-57 victory over Hope International, a NAIA affiliate. It was an expected win from Bob Burton's squad, which welcomes back four starters from last year's 15-win club.
CSUF has dropped all nine previous meetings against UCLA, with each clash taking place in Pauley Pavilion.
The Titans shot a blistering 61.5 percent from the floor, including a 5-of-9 effort from downtown, as they coasted past Hope International in their opener. CSUF handed out 23 assists to just 10 turnovers and dominated the glass, 40-27. It was certainly a dominant performance, but don't expect a repeat against a much tougher opponent tonight. Orange Chin, a South Florida transfer, had a successful debut in a Titan uniform, as he tallied 18 points and five boards in just 21 minutes off the bench. Jer'Vaughn Johnson, Aaron Thompson and Devon Peltier each scored 10 points in the victory as well.
The lone starter welcomed back for the Bruins is Nikola Dragovic, a 6-9 forward that was one of the team's most improved players last year, averaging 9.4 ppg and 4.3 rpg. Joining him up front will be forward Michael Roll (6.7 ppg) and center Drew Gordon (3.6 ppg) and they will be asked to play bigger roles with the departure of four starters from a year ago. At the perimeter, the team will turn to 6-1 sophomore Jerime Anderson, who has great quickness and is fearless. Fellow sophomore Malcolm Lee will accompany Anderson and he has the potential to emerge as the go-to-guy.
The Bruins are a bit young and inexperienced, but they have plenty of talent and should be able to handle the Titans in their opener tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 80, Cal State Fullerton 60