This matchup looks a lot like a bunch of other games UCLA has played this season. On one hand, you have the Bruins high-powered offense. On the other hand, you have a team that emphasizes their defense in Cincinnati.
UCLA is still the best in the nation offensively with an average of 90.6 points per game. Meanwhile, the Bearcats are ranked 5th nationally in defensive scoring average at 60.8 per game.
Looking at the other end, the Bruins are averaging 75.5 points allowed per game while Cincinnati averages 74.5 points per game.
So, the big question seems to be: Can the Cincinnati defense stop the UCLA offense?
It’s the same question that has been asked all season long. Each time UCLA faced a tough defensive opponent, it seemed like the Bruins stepped up and beat their opponent. But that’s why they play the games.
The Bruins cannot afford to play the kind of game that they seem to be playing lately where the offense get struggles at times and let’s their opponent back into the game. The Bearcats are too good a team to let them back into the game should UCLA find their foot on their collective throats.
Cincinnati appears to be a second half team. They are 24-1 when they lead at halftime and 5-2 when they trail at halftime. They are 27-1 when they lead at the 10-minute mark and they are 28-0 when leading with five minutes left.
Cincinnati had three players in double figures on Friday against Kansas State. Senior point guard Troy Caupain led the Bearcats with a season-high 23 points. Caupain added 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Forward Kyle Washington put up 16 points and pulled down 4 rebounds while sophomore Jacob Evans scored 15 points and tied Caupain with 7 rebounds.
So, the jey for the Bruins looks like they need to get the lead early and hold it the entire game because they just can’t expect to come from behind against the Bearcats.
Here’s how to watch, listen and stream tonight’s game:
UCLA Bruins (#3 seed, South Region, 30-4)
Opponent: University of Cincinnati Bearcats (#6 seed, South Region, 30-5)
When: Sunday, March 19, 2017, 6:40 pm PT
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
TV: TBS with Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore and Ros Gold-Onwude
Stream: NCAA.com and the NCAA March Madness app
- 570 AM in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
- Sirius Channel 145/XM Channel 206 (National feed)
- And, of course, the Bruins Nation Game Thread!
Live Stats: NCAA GameCenter