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UCLA Preview: A Cupcake with Frosting, UCLA v. Nicholls State

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How bad is Nicholls State? Well in the old half time shooting contest where you had to make a layup, free throw, top of the key and half court shot in 30 seconds, they would probably not get past the free throw.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Let's start this review off with a glass if half full or half empty quote from the Nicholls State Colonels.

The 2014-15 Nicholls schedule sets up to be another daunting task for the team as the group will square off with the likes of North Texas, UCLA, Wake Forest, Michigan and Louisiana Tech in the non-conference

Glass is half full, UCLA is daunting once again.  Half empty UCLA is playing a team so bad that North Texas and Louisiana Tech are daunting to them.  Nicholls State had a winning record (10-8) in the conference won by the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, remember them?   Of course they lost their two best players from that team which Stephen F. Austin beat by 29.  Also, North Texas was daunting beating them by 14 in their opener and holding them to 33% shooting.

If you don't want to read this whole preview, Nicholls State is much closer to Montana State than Coastal Carolina.  Nichols State is a Brick City team, none of the returning starters shoot over 60% from the free throw line, and two shoot under 50.  (In their first game they shot 56% from the line.)  As a team they shot 63% from the free throw line and lost their two best free throw shooters.  The SPTRs could make this game really ugly as Nicholls State also had three players foul out of their first game.

Really, this is one of those teams that might have problems shooting in the layup drill.

Guards

Once again, UCLA plays a team that starts three guards.

The leading return scorer is 6'4" guard TJ Carpenter.  TJ shots 6.4 threes a game, making only 31% of them.  (In the exhibition game and opener, he shot 14 times from three, and only made two),  For a guy who likes to gun so much he is not exactly a great shooter, 35% overall and only 59% from the charity strip.

Another returning starting is 6'2" Schane Rilliex.  The best thing about Schane is he is a senior.  He does not shoot well from anywhere but the good news is he does not like to shoot.  This is a game where you can hide Bryce on man to man defense.  Shane is such a poor shooter he only shoots 45% from the free throw line.

The third guard is JC transfer 5'11" Richie Lewis.  You would thank his height means he is a point guard but he averaged more rebounds (4) than assists in JC.  He did have four steals a game so he may have some quickness.

They the intimidating Schane is hurt and may or may not play.  In any case look for 6'4" Ja'Dante Frye to play a lot. Frye may be an answer for the desperate to find scoring Colonels.  He is someone who might be able to score from all over.

Bigs

I think Thomas Welsh may be taller than any two players for the Colonels.  Okay, that is an exaggeration.  But a 6'6" guard and a 6'7" forward for North Texas killed Nicholls so bad they were out rebounded by 22.

The starting forward is the giant six seven Sam McBeath.  McBeath spends most of his time shooting threes at 35% rate.  Like most players for the Colonels he is not a good free throw shooter, 56%.

Of course the bench features a couple of 6'4" forwards but hey one of them shoots 65% from the free throw line.

The starting Center is 6'10" 195 pound Liam Thomas of Sydney.  Unless Liam  has gained some weight he makes Thomas Welsh look like Josh Smith.  Laim stays inside where he made 55% of his field goals last year.  Of course, he only made 47% of his free throws.

Defense

Last year Nichols State ranked 252 on scoring defense and 305 on Field Goal Percentage Defense.  This game should be a joke.

What to Watch.

This may be the last game to get a long look at the bench.  Quick questions for each:

1.  Can Thomas Welsh rebound and use his height?

2.  Can Noah Allen play defense well on a guard and show enough offense to beat out Bail?

3.  Can Wanaah Bail dominate the boards inside and play good defense.

Go Bruins and Beat SC!