No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (6-0 2-1 ATS) vs. UCLA Bruins (2-4 2-2 ATS) Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA 5:50 PM EST Sunday December 6, 2009 on FSN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Jayhawks -14.5/ Bruins +14.5
Tonight in La La Land the struggling UCLA Bruins host the undefeated and top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks. The Bruins are the most storied team in college hoops with the most NCAA titles, but this season they are in rebuilding mode and they have dropped 3 straight games and they have not even begun Pac 10 play. The Bruins can really get back on track with a home win over Kansas, but that will be far from easy against a stacked Jayhawks’ team that has more than a couple future NBA players on the roster.
Kansas is 6-0 and except for the 2-point win over Memphis in their 2nd game they have blown out all of their opponents. They have a solid inside-out game and even their bench is loaded with talent. Their offense has been on fire averaging just under 92 points per game.
The Bruins have already lost to the likes of Cal State Fullerton, Portland, Butler, and Long Beach State, who are decent teams but noting like Kansas, so the Bruins have to play awesome on both ends of the court to have any chance in this game.
In their last game the Bruins lost to Long Beach 79-68 back on November 29th. The Bruins were only down by 1 after the 1st half, but then were outscored by 10 in the 2nd half to lose by 11. The Bruins shot a legit 45.8% from the field in the game, but they could not hit the long bomb only going 3/20 from beyond the 3-point arc and they only shot 50% from the charity stripe. On defense the Bruins did not play well allowing LBSU to shoot 53.6% from the field and they were out-rebounded 34-24.
To say that Kansas’ last game was a blowout is a major understatement, as they crushed Alcorn 98-31. Yes, that is not a typo 98-31! The Jayhawks jumped out to a 53-12 lead at half, which included one of the best runs in NCAA history reeling off 36 straight points. The Jayhawks shot decent for the game going 47.3% from the floor and 32.4% from 3-point land, but their defense is what caused the blowout. In the game Kansas held Alcorn to only 23.1% from the floor and 11.1% from downtown.
Player of the Year candidate C Cole Aldrich (11.2 ppg 9.8 rpg) should have a huge game today, both scoring and on the boards. The reason he will do that is because he will be facing Bruins F/C Drew Gordon (11.2 ppg 5.3 rpg) and he is only 6’8′ while Aldrich is 6’11” with a huge wingspan.
The Bruins are led by guards Michael Roll (13.2 ppg) and Malcolm Lee (12.3 ppg), but don’t look for them to have big scoring games, as the backcourt of Kansas is great on D.
Speaking of the backcourt of the Jayhawks Xavier Henry (17 ppg) is a 6’6″ off guard that can do it all and Sherron Collins (14.3 ppg) is a 5’11” lightning quick guard that can get to the hoop any time he wants.
The Bruins will not score a ton of points in this game not because they do not have a high scoring offense, which they don’t, but because Kansas is one of the best defensive teams in the nation only giving up an average of 54.8 ppg.
Gordon and F Nikola Dragovic (7.8 ppg 7 rpg) will have to have good scoring games to give the guards room to operate on the perimeter, but that simply won’t happen with the legit interior D that the Jayhawks have.
Jason’s Pick: While Kansas will not blow out UCLA like they did Alcorn, but they should have no problems winning this game. The Jayhawks can score, rebound, and play great defense and the Bruins simply can’t match up with them. Look for Aldrich to have a big game and for the Jayhawks to easily win this game and cover the 14.5-point spread.