Wednesday, the Bruins picked up their first win at Washington State of the Steve Alford era. Tonight, they need to complete another road sweep for just the second time under Alford when UCLA takes on the Huskies in Seattle.
This game is being billed as the Battle of the Freshman Phenoms between Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz. Fultz is the only player in the NCAA averaging at least 20 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds.
While Fultz has played well, that hasn’t really translated into wins for the Huskies who have struggled this season in conference play. Lorenzo Romar’s team has only won two of their first ten conference games. One of those wins was against Oregon State who is winless in conference play and the Huskies needed OT to defeat Colorado. So far, they’ve lost all their Pac-12 road games in addition to losing to Southern Cal, Utah, Oregon and Washington State at home.
So, on paper, it seems like an exciting matchup between two of the top freshman in the country. But, the reality of it is that UCLA should be able to win this game easily because, despite LaVar Ball’s braggadocio, this team is more than just Lonzo Ball. It doesn’t look like Washington is much more than Fultz, even though there are two Huskies besides him who are averaging double figures in David Crisp, with 13.9 ppg, and Noah Dickerson, with 10.8 ppg, and a third in Matisse Thybulle who’s averaging 9.9 ppg.
The big difference between these two teams seems to be that, while UCLA has two amazing freshmen in Ball and TJ Leaf, they also have a group of veteran upperclassmen who step up when needed. Meanwhile, Washington has the sixth youngest roster in the NCAA and no scholarship players who were on scholarship two years ago.
That experience should prove to be the difference tonight.
#8 UCLA Bruins (20-3, 7-3)
Opponent: Washington Huskies (9-13, 2-8)
When: Saturday, February 4, 2017, 7:30 pm PT
Where: Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA
TV: Pac-12 Networks National, Los Angeles and Washington with J.B. Long, Don Maclean, and Jill Savage
Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
- 570 AM in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
- Sirius Channel 81/XM Channel 81 (Washington feed)/XM Channel 84 (UCLA feed)
- And, of course, the Bruins Nation Game Thread!
Live Stats: Washington Huskies StatBroadcast