The UCLA Bruins (13-9, 5-4) start their annual Bay Area road trip at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto versus the Stanford Cardinal (15-6, 6-3) tonight. Tip-off is set for 6:05 PM PT. You can catch the game on ESPN2. Dave Flemming and Bill Walton ("takeaway Chasson Randle's right hand") will call the game. You can also listen on Tunein Radio or 570 AM. Follow along with live stats here.
Vegas has Stanford as the 6.5 point favorite. More than I thought.
The boogey man for UCLA (well, the one that applies here) has been the inability to win outside of Los Angeles. Steve Alford said it's February, and there is no excuse not been to able to play well on the road.
As laid out in the preview, the keys to the game are:
1) Will the Bruins run the offense through the bigs, Tony Parker and Kevon Looney, and will the return of Reid Travis turn the match-up of the bigs around for Stanford.
2) Can the Bruins keep Chasson Randle under control? He scored 32 last time -- almost enough to win the game. Who will cover him or is zone the answer? Norman is the best defender, but Stanford's Anthony Brown shoots 46% from three and is 6'6" -- too big for Isaac Hamilton. Brown is also a good defender, and will likely cover Norman.
This is the game that may decide third place in the conference, and go along away towards securing an NCAA bid for the Bruins.
Enjoy the game thread with your fellow BNers and Bruins.