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UCLA vs. U of A: Questions & Answers

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The gang got together after the justSC game to discuss the Arizona game tonight. We're still waiting to hear about Looney. That's the elephant in the room -- as if beating Arizona wasn't already a daunting task.

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1)  Why will UCLA win this game?

chrissorr: Parker and Looney can't be as bad as last time. I hope the refs stay out the way. The game plan worked except that Parker, Looney and Welsh fouled out.

DCBruins:  Bryce and Isaac play well.

Matt Garrido: UCLA came out looking sharp and fresh after the 8 days off, which is a great sign. If Hamilton's shot continue to fall like it did against 'SC, that adds another element that this team just didn't have this year. That will loosen things up for everyone else on the team. If Looney can go, there is really no way that we can get less from the post and we were close in the game at McKale. Arizona had a tough physical game against, which shows up in the 2nd half, giving UCLA the edge to pull away.

Free90: Defensively, I don't see how we stay out of foul trouble if we play man -- Arizona is too good at dribble penetration. Play zone and make them shoot it over the top, except for York.  Offensively, Arizona's priority is putting a picket fence over dribble penetration so I think dribble penetration and kick-outs for threes and/or swinging the ball or dribble penetration after the kick-out could work.  Looney will probably get some open perimeter looks which he needs to hit. I don't think we can really go through Parker--he has a power low- post game and he is not moving Tarczewski. We need to take care of the ball and limit Arizona's transition.  We hold Arizona to around 6-8 offensive boards (and about that rebound deficit overall) have no more than 10 turnovers, hit it at least 10 threes and Powell and/or someone can be clutch down the stretch we can win.

2Why will Arizona win this game?

chrissorr: The bench. For the 30 minutes the UCLA bench is on the floor, Arizona is playing 5 on 4. I've come to understand why it might be best to put them all in at once. Last game, they probably won because of Ristic and York.

DCBruins: Agree on the bench. I would add the crowd.  They will be loud for Arizona v. UCLA.  It will be a bit like a road game.  Also the reverse of the above.  Bryce and Isaac miss their shots and take too many bad shots.

Matt Garrido: If Looney's injury is serious enough for him to miss time, we would need a miracle to pull this one out. No one else can really guard Ashley, which means the team would need to collapse often to help and the post and to give us any chance of gathering a rebound. This is going to leave Stanley Johnson and McConnell to feast on dribble penetration and the mid-range game.

Free90: They hit their outside shots we're not going to win.  Their bench is better and deeper and the game gets out of hand when our bench is in the game .They completely dominate us on the boards. We get into foul trouble. We turn the ball over too much, leading to transition baskets.  Bryce has an off- day shooting or Hamilton has a horrendous game like he has had on the road. Parker disappears again.  Looney has only 4 rebounds again. We have a lot of ways to lose but I think all of the above are avoidable-- we can win.

3) Who is UCLA's key player today?

chrissorr: I hate to say it, but it could be Bryce. If Arizona does shut down the interior, including Norman's ability to get by Johnson and Hollis-Jefferson, this game will be about shooting 3's.

Looney has to be active. Ashley was leaving him last time to double Parker.

DCBruins: I agree on Bryce but to be different I will say Isaac. Isaac needs to play well on D, get the posts some touches on offense and not become a junior bad Bryce taking hero ball type shots.

Matt Garrido: If he can go, it will be Looney. He is the only answer to Ashley and our best chance of beating Arizona on the boards.

Free90: They're all key -- no one can have a bad game. But Bryce is the most key because he needs to hit threes and run the offense well to avoid turnovers. If I were Arizona I would pressure him all the way up the court. Bryce had a good game last time against Arizona and that allowed us to stay close.

4) Who is Arizona's key player today?

chrissorr: Assuming UCLA can actually lock-down the interior without fouling, then I would say McConnell pick and roll and otherwise scoring on Bryce, and York hitting 3's.

DCBruins: We were in the game because Powell (and occasionally Hamilton) not only shut down but frustrated Johnson.  Powell is one of the few players who is athletic enough to deal with Johnson.

Matt Garrido: Stanley Johnson. We stayed in the game last time because Powell was able to pretty much lock Johnson down. We need that again to have a shot.

Free90: I am going to go with their best player--Stanley Johnson.  Defense, transition offense, can shoot the three. He had an off-game last time and Arizona looked beatable.  Hopefully, the same thing happens again.

5) What stat tells the story best?

chrissorr: Floor Percent - Arizona is #1, UCLA #2. It points to a closer game than you would think. Both teams get offensive rebounds, don't turn it over much and go to the free throw line (not last two game for UCLA). For the life of me, I don't understand why teams don't pressure the Bruins more -- except that the talent level was so low in the PAC-12 this season. It really should be close if nerves and the refs aren't a factor.

DCBruins: Fouls and free throws.  UCLA has to win this battle for a number of reasons including keeping their starting five on the floor.

Matt Garrido: Free throw rate. Arizona shot 12 more and made 8 more free throws than UCLA in the last game. Arizona is 8th in the nation in free throw attempts per field goal attempt while UCLA is 170th. We must limit their free throw advantage.

Free90: Effective shooting percentage.  Need 45% to have a chance and 50% we win.