Bumped. We have a huge basketball game today involving a team that actually plays with passion, defensive intensity and pride in those four letters. The tip off is schedule for 2:30 pm PST and it will be on FSN. Ryan or P will have a game thread up. GO BRUINS. -N
With UCLA having a big game this sunday on the road at USC, I wanted to take a look at how UCLA stacks up against the Pac-10 and USC specifically in several statistics to try and see where UCLA may have the advantage/disadvantage. This post will be heavy on numbers and statistics.
In scoring offense, USC and UCLA are even, placing 4th (68.1) and 5th (66.5) respectively in points per game. Interestingly, Oregon (our other major challenger for an at-large bid) is first not only in conference, but in the nation at 87 points per game. UCLA has a clear advantage over USC in scoring defense, placing 2nd at 54.3 points a game vs. USC giving up 66 a game for 8th place. That means UCLA on the season has a +12.3 scoring average to +2.1 for USC
One area UCLA clearly needs to work on is Freethrow shooting, hitting only 65% on the season for 7th in conference. UCLA is shooting 42% from the field (5th place) compared to 39% (9th place) from USC, offensively that seems like a wash. UCLA leads the conference in field goal defense allowing only 35% shooting. USC is in 8th at 39%. 3 point shooting has always stuck out as a concern to me, but UCLA shoots 35% from 3 for 3rd best in conference (USC is first with 38.7%). We just shoot fewer 3s than most teams as we rely on our play in the paint (80 less than USC, a whopping 180 less than Oregon).
UCLA should have an advantage on the boards, as UCLA has a +5.3 rebounding margin (4th best in conference) against a -4 margin for USC (last place). UCLA is slightly more prone at turning the ball over (16.1 vs 15.3 per game) but forces more turnovers for a +3.93 margin per game against +.8 for USC, 3rd and 4th place in conference.
USC is last place in conference for attendance. They will have a full stadium on Sunday due to their "a day in troy" promotion where little kids from around the city take a tour of campus, have lunch, and go to the game. For most statistics, it seems like UCLA and USC are even. Both teams boast a top 25 strength of schedule, so these statistics shouldn't be too inflated one way or the other. Hopefully USC's advantage at the freethrow line and 3 point shooting will be negated by UCLA's advantage on the boards and defense.
USC has two players that average double digits a game, Ashley Corral(16.0) and Briana Gilbreath(13.1), so UCLA will have to focus on shutting them down, while USC will have to worry about Markel Walker (11.9) and Darxia Morris (11.0) UCLA will also need to be weary of Heather Oliver, who is shooting 50% from 3 on the season. This should be an evenly matched, tough fought game and i'm very excited to see it in person, and encourage everyone to check the game out on FSN at 2:30pm Sunday.