Game Day Breakdown: 23/21 SDSU vs. nr/24 UCLA

Game Day Breakdown of 23/21 San Diego State vs. nr/24 UCLA: projected starting lineups, keys to the game, what to watch for and a prediction...

23/21 San Diego State vs. rv/24 UCLA
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
Location: Honda Center in Anaheim, CA

UCLA (5-2)

Head Coach: Ben Howland
UCLA Record: 213-99 / 10th season

Projected Starting Lineup

G – Larry Drew (RS Sr.) 6'2, 180

The UNC transfer averages 8.1 assists per game but more importantly leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ration (6.33). Drew is a nice compliment to the plethora of scorers for UCLA. He's the only solid perimeter defender for the Bruins.

G – Jordan Adams (Fr.) 6'5, 220

"He can score the ball," Fisher said. "He knows how to score. Those kinds of players, any age, are at a premium. He's very good…He's got size to take you inside. He's got 3-point shooting ability. And he is very confident right now in his offensive game."

F – Shabazz Muhammad (Fr.) 6'6, 225

Muhammad was No. 2 prospect coming into college this season according to Scout.com. The southpaw loves to attack the left side of the floor where he can score from all three levels on the floor. He also has the ability to post up smaller defenders.

F – Kyle Anderson (Fr.) 6'9, 235

"He's very talented," Fisher said. "He's a pass-first player, and everybody likes to play with guys that would take more delight in getting an assist than he would in getting a basket for themselves. He sees the floor well, good with the ball, and he will continue to get better as his career goes on. He's a very good young freshman basketball player that finds that open man."

*F – Travis Wear (RS Jr.) 6'10, 230

Bench

It seems like the Bruins will be down to a 7-man rotation for the second straight game with Josh Smith and Tyler Lamb transferring this week and Tony Parker listed as a game time decision. It will be up to guard Norman Powell and forward David Wear to carry the load.

23/21 San Diego State (4-1)

Head Coach: Steve Fisher
SDSU Record: 262-161 / 14th season

Projected Starting Lineup

*G – Xavier Thames (Jr.) 6'3, 190

*G – Chase Tapley (Sr.) 6'3, 195

Tapley (knee) will be a game time decision on whether he'll play or not. Aztecs second leading scorer will be needed in this one, as points will be hard to come by.

*F – Jamaal Franklin (Jr.) 6'5, 205

F – J.J. O'Brien (So.) 6'7, 225.

O'Brien has struggled on the glass averaging only 4.4 boards a contest. The sophomore will be key with UCLA expected to play the zone and he's being the only guy comfortable to play the middle of the zone offense.

F – Deshawn Stephens (Sr.) 6'8, 225

Stephens (hip pointer) joins Tapley as a game time decision. He'll not only need to get on the floor for this game but be effective in his minutes.

Bench

If Winston Shepard was to have a coming out party, what better stage than against Las Vegas (Nev.) high school rival Shabazz Muhammad. This game is set up for Shepard to play quality minutes with UCLA having versatile playmakers in Muhammad, Anderson and Adams. If Tapley and Stephens are not able to play then James Rahon and Skylar Spencer could be pushed into the starting lineup making the Aztecs bench razor thin.

(* Returning Starter)

Keys to the Game

1) Who will play?. Stephens and Tapley are game time decisions for San Diego State and it has been reported that UCLA's Tony Parker is a game time decision. The pair of Aztec starters will be needed on Saturday and if they do play how effective can each be.

2) Dominate on the boards. UCLA is expected to play zone against the hot/cold shooting SDSU. The Aztecs need to get second chance opportunities with no glass assignments for the Bruins.

3) Attack early and often. SDSU will look to push the ball every time before the zone sets up but they can't be too aggressive. Quality shots are just as important than number of shots especially if there is no Aztec underneath to attempt at an offensive rebound.

What to Watch

San Diego State

"Last time I looked, we are a little bit shorthanded ourselves," Fisher replied regarding the pace of the game with UCLA having a lack of depth. "We want to run, but we want to run selectively. It can't be 40 minutes of just wild up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down. I don't think either team wants to do that. But if you don't get some easy baskets, you probably won't win. And easy baskets occur a lot of times in transition, so we have to run."

UCLA

"We are going to have to play some zone in terms of foul trouble situation," Howland said regarding their lack of depth due to two transfers. "We have to get better at it… It's something we have to work on. We haven't really spend a lot of time on it but we'll have to spend more time on it."

The Quote

"They [UCLA] looked pretty good to me when I watched them on tape. They will be the best-running team that we will have played to date. They run. You watch this team, they are not walk-it-up, set it up, run a set play every time down. They are trying to run and shoot a good shot within seven seconds. So we'll have our hands full getting back. I think they have got very good players."

-San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher on UCLA head coach Ben Howland referring to his team as "un-athletic"

Prediction

It's hard to make a prediction when you're unsure who will actually play in the game but I'll assume both teams will be at full strength. Howland finally changed his philosophy to a run and gun offense and a 2-3 zone. Problem is San Diego State isn't Cal State Northridge. Bruins have too many distractions on and off the court to beat an Aztecs team that is deep, talented and a "team." Honda Center will be rocking and rolling with SDSU fans, as "The Show" will be chanting, "We are victorious" leaving the building.

San Diego State 68 UCLA 60

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