The UCLA Bruins have the work cut out for them today when they face the 5-seed Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal has won five of the last six games including yesterday’s Pac-12 Tournament First Round game against UC Berkeley, 76-58.
The only loss by the Cardinal during that stretch was an 8-point loss to Arizona on the road.
To make matters worse, UCLA will basically be taking the court cold. That’s because coach Steve Alford said the other day that he wasn’t going to wake the team up for an 8 am shootaround time this morning. So, the Bruins will have to adjust quickly to the rims at T-Mobile Arena.
Meanwhile, Stanford will benefit from having playing on the court yesterday.
And, just in case that’s not enough, there’s the question of whether or not Jaylen Hands will be able to play. He missed last Saturday’s game against Southern Cal and, as of Tuesday, it looked like it would be a gametime decision as to whether or not he would play today. Why is that so important to the Bruins? Because when UCLA beat Stanford at home, Hands started in place of G.G. Goloman.
But, the key to beating the Cardinal seems to be stopping Reid Travis. The Bruins held Travis to just 11 points at Pauley while Travis had 18 points in UCLA’s loss to Stanford on the road.
So, personally, I would put the Bruins as slight underdogs in this one due to the fact that UCLA may have a tough time getting started and they could be in big trouble if Hands is unable to play.
What do you think? Leave it in the comments.