Coming off a brutal 23-point loss to USC, the Arizona Wildcats return to action Saturday against the UCLA Bruins, looking to salvage a split on their Southern California road trip.
KenPom gives Arizona a 50/50 shot of winning this game, though that does not take Chase Jeter’s health into account. The big man is questionable Saturday after missing Thursday’s game with a back injury.
Here is what we think will happen in Westwood. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Brian J. Pedersen — UCLA wins 77-71
Remember how good Arizona managed to look against Oregon State despite losing Chase Jeter early to injury? Yeah, that was definitely a mirage. The reality of a Jeter-less Wildcats team is what we saw on Thursday, on both sides of the ball, and even if he is able to go against UCLA it’s not going to be at full speed. That means Arizona is going to have make shots, and make a lot of them, since it’s not going to be able to slow the Bruins down. Only they can do that, turning it over left and right, but while Arizona is good at forcing TOs it doesn’t do well converting them into instant points.
Fun fact: the last four LA trips have resulted in sweeps, good or bad. Looks like that will be five straight.
Ronnie Stoffle — UCLA wins 75-67
Kris Wilkes is going to be a big problem in this game. Dylan Smith will need to showcase his best defensive performance of the season. Freshman center Moses Brown could also pose a major issue if Chase Jeter misses his second straight game.
I don’t expect another collective 27.8% shooting effort from UA. Obviously if Jeter can return to the lineup, it would be a great boost for the team, especially the front court. However, even if Jeter returns, I’m still not confident he’ll be healthy enough to tilt the game in UA’s favor. Also, I frankly don’t trust that the Wildcats will contain Wilkes if Smith gets into foul trouble.
Zant Reyez — UCLA wins 79-72
I don’t see Arizona playing like it did against USC, but with no Chase Jeter, I don’t see a win either.
Christopher Boan — UCLA wins 80-64
Arizona is trash without Chase Jeter, and Miller didn’t sound too optimistic when he said that Jeter’s status will be a game-time decision.
Ryan Kelapire — UCLA wins 78-72
I don’t think Jeter is going to play, therefore I don’t think Arizona will win. He is just too valuable to this team. That said, the Wildcats will have a better showing in Westwood than they did at USC because, well, it can’t really get any worse than that.
Who knows, maybe UCLA will have one of those letdowns that it always seems prone to having, and the undermanned Wildcats will escape Southern California with a split. Needless to say that would be huge given how downtrodden the team looked against the Trojans.
Jason Bartel — UCLA wins 65-58
At least we’ll have Bill Walton.