How will the game play out? We give our predictions here:
Oh Jay WilliamsОпубліковано AZ Desert Swarm 25 лютого 2017 р.
Brandon Hill: This is a huge game. College GameDay in town. Top 5 matchup. A marquee win with the Pac-12 Tournament looming. The cards are all pretty much on the table at this point. UCLA has a phenomenal offense: number two in KenPom offensive efficiency, number one in field goal percentage, and number one in scoring in Division-1. But the Bruins are 104th in defensive efficiency. You can trade baskets with them all day. Interestingly, UCLA has a slightly better field goal percentage defense than Arizona (64th and 68th, respectively) yet ranks 257th in scoring defense. If you rebound and can get second shot opportunities the Bruins can struggle. That was the case in the last matchup in Pauley Pavilion.
The health of Lonzo Ball is huge. Without him at full strength I don’t think UCLA wins. UCLA always make me nervous, especially when they’re ranked, and there’s a lot riding on this game. But I’ll take the Cats to win a close one and maintain their one-game lead in the Pac-12 race.
Arizona 92 UCLA 88
Ryan Kelapire: The stakes of this game are pretty well known, and frankly I think it’s a coin flip who wins.
That said, I do like Arizona’s formula for winning (a combination of solid offense and defense) more than UCLA’s (elite offense, poor defense). Not to mention Arizona has won 70 of its last 71 games in McKale Center, so it takes quite a bit to beat the Wildcats in Tucson.
Given UCLA’s offense, it has the ability to come into McKale Center and shoot lights out to mitigate Arizona’s homecourt advantage, but that is really the only way I see the Bruins winning. To be clear, “lights out” for this UCLA team is around 50 percent from 3. The Bruins shoot around 40 percent from 3 on average, but they will have to be better than that against Arizona, seeing the Wildcats shouldn’t have too much difficulty scoring against UCLA.
Arizona 89, UCLA 82
Steve Apter: The frenetic pace at which UCLA plays with helps Arizona, who is strong enough defensively to weather the storm and appreciates the opportunity to get out and run and open their offense up at bit. Even if Lonzo Ball is slowed a step by his ankle injury he suffered on Thursday in Phoenix, I expect T.J. Leaf to continue his phenomenal rookie campaign, and Issac Hamilton and Aaron Holiday to share more of the scoring load. Bryce Alford always seems to have his shot cooking against the Cats, including a game winner to upset a top ten Arizona team a year ago. However, Arizona plays confidently and holds off the Bruins for a close victory.
Arizona 82 UCLA 80
Jason Bartel: Anything is possible if we’re being honest.
Arizona 98 UCLA 92