Zeke will be matched up tonight against Montana's hotest player. It will be a good chance for Zeke to get more solid D-1 experience. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
UCLA now begins a long streak of home games against mid-majors with a key interruption against BYU. This streak is a chance to build and improve. We have made some good strides and this team is fun to watch again. Tonight we play another good mid-major who went to the NCAA Tourney last year, Montana. The game will be televised on Prime Ticket but tape delayed until 9 p.m. instead of the 7 p.m. start.
Montana's hotest player right now is their PG Will Cherry. Cherry made a steal in the Big Sky title game against Weber state last year to get them to the Tourney and has had as many as 7 in a game. It should be interesting how well Zeke and Anderson match up against him. He is supposed to be a good defender and has been scoring lately as well. In any case, it will be good for Zeke in particular to get more practice against a good PG.
Montana actually brings some surprising size to the game as well. Brian Quayle their 6'11" 260 pound Center averages almost 3 blocks a game and is a Big Sky Conference defensive player of the year candidate. He is a Senior who knows what he is doing at this point. While I think Smith should have no problem with him (with the normal caveat of fouls), it will be interesting to watch Stover and Lane play against him. Can Quayle out muscle them?
The third player to watch is Derek Selvig. Selvig is a skinny 7 footer who "plays three positions". Will Nelson follow him to the three point line and play defense against him for the entire time he is in? Will Nelson tear him up as he has done against other mid-major competition who he has played against this year? Not sure on the former but I think yes on the latter.
Also, this is may be Carlino's debut. It is too bad that Carlino has missed so many early games. With only 10 scholarship players it may be important that he gets a few minutes in these types of game.
Last, Bruins need to start supporting this year's team. I will be there tonight cheering on our Bruins, hopefully joining many other out of towners in for the $UC game.