Along with Oregon, UCLA has been the other disappointing team from the PAC-12 in my book. Before the season even started, Shareef O’Neal (heart ailment) and Tyger Campbell (torn knee ligament) were announced out for the season. During the preseason, the Bruins had many opportunities to get a signature resume win but came up short in all chances. Then, after a disappointing loss to Liberty at home, Steve Alford was fired after being the UCLA head coach for five seasons. Now, the Bruins are off to a strong start in PAC-12 play by taking care of both California and Stanford. UCLA looks to get a win over the highest-rated PAC-12 team according to KenPom.com, the Oregon Ducks (#44).
Wins - Purdue Fort Wayne, Long Beach State, Saint Francis (PA), Presbyterian, Hawaii, LMU, Notre Dame, Stanford, California
Losses - #11 Michigan State, #7 North Carolina, Belmont, @ Cincinnati, #15 Ohio State, Liberty
KenPom Ranking - #76
UCLA (9-6, 2-0) @ Oregon (9-5, 0-1) 9:00 PM ET, ESPN on Thursday, January 10th
- 78.9 Points Per Game
- 42.5 Rebounds Per Game (Tied for 9th in the Country)
- 15.1 Assists Per Game
- 5.9 Steals Per Game
- 5.2 Blocks Per Game (Ranked 21st in the Country)
- 73.9 Points Allowed Per Game
- 46.1 Field Goal Percentage
Player to Watch For:
Moses Brown, Freshman - 12.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.4 BPG, .678% FG
A skilled 7-footer who has the potential to be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. I was circling this game on my calendar because I wanted to see Bol Bol face off against Moses. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see that happen.
Score Prediction: 78-68, Bruins over Ducks
I think the three-headed monster of Kris Wilkes (17.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG), Jaylen Hands (11.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 6.9 APG), and Moses Brown will be too much for Oregon to handle.
It is uncertain if future NBA lottery pick Kevin Porter Jr. will be able to go in the matchup with the Ducks. The freshman has only played six games this season before he was sidelined by a thigh injury. He is they type of player that could turn a team’s season around. The Trojan’s record would be a lot better than it is if he suited up for every game this season.
Wins - Robert Morris, Stetson, Missouri State, Cal State Bakersfield, Long Beach State, Southern Utah, UC Davis, California, Stanford
Losses - Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, #5 Nevada, TCU, @ Oklahoma, @ Santa Clara
KenPom Ranking - #87
USC (9-6, 2-0) @ Oregon (9-5, 0-1) 8:00 PM ET, ESPNU on Sunday, January 13th
- 79.3 Points Per Game
- 37.3 Rebounds Per Game
- 16.5 Assists Per Game (Tied for 34th in the Country)
- 6.7 Steals Per Game
- 3.4 Blocks Per Game
- 73.1 Points Allowed Per Game
- 46.6 Field Goal Percentage
Player to Watch For:
Bennie Boatwright, Senior - 15.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.4 APG
A rare four-year college basketball player who loves to shoot from beyond the arc. Boatwright can get hot quickly so you have to keep an eye on him at all times.
Score Prediction: 82-78, Ducks over Trojans
Besides Boatwright and Niko Rakocevic (15.7 PPG, 10.1 RPG), the Trojans really lack playmakers so I think the Ducks win a close one at Matthew Knight Arena.
*Arden Cravalho is a senior at Gonzaga University... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho