This afternoon, the UCLA men’s basketball team will attempt to accomplish something it literally took Steve Alford to do — complete a road sweep — when the Bruins visit the Washington State Cougars at 4 pm PT.
After UCLA’s surprising win on Thursday night against the Washington Huskies, the Bruins are in a position to complete a Pac-12 road sweep during coach Mick Cronin’s first conference road trip.
While Washington State has a slightly better overall record than the Bruins, it doesn’t mean that the Cougars are a better team. That’s because the Cougs’ nine wins have all come against cupcakes. But, even their losses haven’t been against what could be called tough competition. The toughest teams they’ve faced were the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Southern Cal.
If this were football, that might be impressive, but neither of those schools are known for their basketball programs.
So, after Cronin removed the Four Letters from the team’s gear during the week, perhaps the team is finally focused on playing the kind of defense that they need to win.
Sophomore forward CJ Elleby leads the Cougars in both points per game and rebounds per game with 19.3 and 6.9, respectively. The only other Cougar averaging in double figures is junior guard Isaac Bonton with 13.4 ppg. Bonton is also one of Wazzu’s best three-point shooters with a 29.4% three-point percentage. The Bruins also need to watch out for senior Jeff Pollard and sophomore Aljaž Kunc. The Lithuanian native leads the team with a 30.6% three-point percentage while Pollard is right behind him, making 30.4% of his three-point attempts.
As a team, the Cougars are shooting 28.5% from behind the arc. So, those guys are clearly their best long-range shooters and, of course, anyone who has followed the team so far this season knows that the Bruins have struggled to stop the three-point shot.
It will also be interesting to see if Cronin plays Jake Kyman more this afternoon after his best game of the season on Thursday as a possible counterpoint to Washington State’s three-point shooters.
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 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.
Join your fellow Bruin fans discussing today’s game.
This is your UCLA Bruins at Washington State Cougars game thread.