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UCLA v. Kansas Maui Basketball Preview, UCLA takes on its first Top Ten team this season.

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Can the Bruins rise to the occasion and make an early season statement with a win?

Thomas Welsh controls the ball against the Pepperdine Waves
Thomas Welsh controls the ball against the Pepperdine Waves
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA Bruins vs Kansas Jayhawks

2015 Maui Invitational

7:00pm PST, ESPN

The fifth ranked Jayhawks got here by crushing host Chaminade 123-72 in their 1st round matchup of the Maui Classic. They did so by having seven players score in double digits. Starters Perry Ellis (11), Frank Mason III (14), Wayne Selden Jr. (18), and Devonte Graham (15) were joined by substitutes Landen Lucas (13), Hunter Mickelson (11), and Sviatoslav Mykhalliuk to combine for 100 points. But, it was guard Wayne Selden Jr that led the way with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Those are fantastic numbers. Their guard trio of Mason, Selden, and Graham would combine to go 8 of 14 from three point range. Sviatoslav Mykhalliuk did his part by going 6 of 11 from beyond the arc.

The unranked Bruins got here by squeezing out the victory against UNLV 77-75 in their 1st round matchup. We had three players post double digit scores. Starters Bryce Alford (20), Thomas Welsh (20), and Aaron Holiday (18) combined to score 58. Freshman Thomas Welsh led the way with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. Very impressive.

The Jayhawks have a clear advantage from beyond the arc having gone 15 of 29 from three point range compared to the Bruins going 4 of 10. Even the comparison of 29 attempts to our 10 is a staggering indicator that they are willing to shoot the three ball. Clearly we will be tested on our perimeter defense.

UCLA might have an advantage on the glass however, with a +10.2 rebounding margin compared to Kansas' +7.6 rebounding margin. Tony Parker leads the way for the Bruins with a 16.7 rebounding average compared to the Jayhawk's Landen Lucas who is averaging 7.3 rebounds.

Kansas has won 3 in a row and 7 of the last 9 meetings between the teams.

I for one am looking forward to how we match up against a top ten team and a tournament fixture come March. Go Bruins.