The UCLA Bruins will get their rematch against Gonzaga in Las Vegas at the Good Sam Empire Classic. The tip-off for this game is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. eastern and can be viewed on ESPN.
If you take yourself back to the Final Four game last year between these two teams, you will remember one of the greatest college basketball games in quite some time. There were heroic plays, there was stellar defense, and there was the big shot heard around the country.
Unfortunately, someone had to lose, which is what happened to UCLA when Suggs hit the runner just in front of half-court with time expiring.
This season is off to a great start for both teams. Both will come into Tuesday night’s game undefeated. Both teams have beaten top 25 teams as well, proving why they are ranked where they are at.
Depth for the Bruins
One of the biggest advantages the Bruins have going into this game is depth. They currently roster nine players that are averaging over 10 minutes per game, which is big when you can comfortably get your top players’ breaks that are needed, especially at the beginning of the season. The Bruins will look to take over the #1 spot with a big win against the Zags.
UCLA runs everything through junior guard Johnny Juzang. Off to a hot start, Juzang is averaging 19.8 points per game, while also adding four rebounds as well. Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Jules Bernard are putting in work as well, each averaging 15 points per game. Tyger Campbell is also adding a shooting factor for the Bruins, shooting the three-pointer at a 45% rate.
Zags Keep Rolling
For the last few years, there is the same conversation about Gonzaga, that involves the fact that they play in the West Coast Conference. Are there teams that are not as competitive as some of the best schools in the ACC?
Absolutely, but Gonzaga has set up one of the most difficult non-conference scheduled to try to get their players playing the top teams in the nation. They do not back down from anyone and know they are going to get everyone’s best game.
Gonzaga is led by their junior big man Drew Timme. Averaging 20 points per game, while also adding five rebounds and two assists, Timme look poised to make a big splash in the NBA draft as well.
Gonzaga also featured the number one rated recruit from last season, the seven-foot freshman Chet Holmgren. A unique talent, Holmgren can do just about anything on the basketball court, playing inside, and can also step outside the arc and knock down a three.
Expect this game to be close as both teams have outstanding athletes. It will be interesting to see how UCLA will try to match up with Gonzaga’s size. UCLA is going to have to shoot the basketball extremely well, as getting to the paint and scoring against Gonzaga’s length is going to be extremely difficult.
When the spread for this game comes out, if it stays under six points, -5.5 or less, for Gonzaga, take Gonzaga to cover. If it gets to -6.5 or greater UCLA will be the pick, as this game should be around a two to five-point victory for Gonzaga.