This afternoon, the UCLA Bruins will wrap up this weekend’s road trip when they face the Oregon Ducks in Eugene at 2 pm PT on Fox.
UCLA is a last-second three away from being 3-0 on the road in conference. They have done this through timely shooting and very good to great team defense. They have overcome road crowds and road refs.
But, now is the toughest part. Ben Bolch writes in the LA Times:
UCLA held California scoreless for 11 minutes last weekend while limiting the Golden Bears to 40 points and shut down Oregon State for long stretches on Thursday during a 62-58 victory. It was easily the Bruins’ best back-to-back defensive efforts of the season and came immediately after Cronin unfurled one of his nastiest pitches while addressing his players following a home loss to Stanford on Jan. 15.
It took them more than half a season, but the Bruins seem to have finally embraced a defensive identity.
“The biggest difference is our team mentality of, that’s how we’re going to win — we’re not going to let these guys score,” Cronin said. “We’re going to do our best on offense, try to score the most we can, but no matter what happens, we’re going to try to stop them and get every rebound and every loose ball. These are things we can control.”
But, the Ducks are a step up from UC Berkeley, a team lacking talent, and Oregon State, a good team lacking depth.
- Oregon State had the second best scorer in the Pac-12 in Tres Tinkle, but Oregon has the best in Payton Pritchard.
- The Beavers had a good offense, 26th in the nation in the KenPom rankings, but the Ducks’ offense is, arguably, the best in the conference and 7th in the nation in KenPom.
- Oregon State’s coach is respected, but Oregon’s ethically-challenged coach has been the best the last few years.
- Oregon State was not a good defensive team, ranking 10th in field goal defense in the conference, but Oregon is a better defensive, ranking fourth.
Also, the Ducks have made the most three-pointers in the conference which has been a problem all season long for UCLA defensively.
The Bruins do have some advantages over Oregon. Mainly, UCLA is first in the conference in rebounding margin while the Ducks is sixth. The Bruins definitely have an advantage inside on Oregon.
That said this game is a whole different animal than the last two. It will be in front of a big crowd on national TV.
Listen to the Game Here on BN!
This season, we are proud to, again, have today’s audio feed for everyone who opts to use the TuneIn Player link below. For optimum results, start the audio feed then pause your DVR and sync them up together. Today’s game is on Fox with Joe Davis and Steve Lavin calling the game. If you would prefer to listen to Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray call today’s game instead you can listen to today’s game online.
Just be sure to right-click on the link above so that you can open up another tab and have it going while you chat in the comments below.
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