Tonight, the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team will play the Presbyterian Blue Hose at Pauley Pavilion at 8 pm in their second home game which is a part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
The Blue Hose are 3-2, which sounds good until you realize that two of their wins are against the Welch Flames and the Boyce Bulldogs. Yeah, these schools are not exactly household names or D1 teams as both are members of the National Christian College Athletic Association. But the Blue Hose topped 100 points in both wins! Lol, Presbyterian is also an experienced team, but the experience was on a team that went 11-21 including 4-14 in the Big South. According to Kempom, Presbyterian is ranked 301 overall, 272 on adjusted offense and 305 on adjusted defense.
I thought the Red Flash could give us some trouble and they did for a half. Can the Blue Hose? I don’t think so, but the formula is simple for them: be patient and shoot open threes. They shoot 37% as a team from three and so far have taken 45% of their shots from behind the arc. I expect the latter number to be higher tonight.
But, really, this game is not about the Blue Hose. This is about UCLA. Will UCLA blowout the Blue Hose from the start or let them shoot open threes and hang around? The key will be defense and, interestingly, Steve Alford has benched his starters in the first three games at times for not expending enough effort on defense. Will he tonight as well if they don’t give a decent effort?
This game is the end of the cupcakes with #11 Michigan State in the wings on Thursday night. It would be nice for UCLA to show a sustained effort early because it definitely won’t cut it to only play one good half against the Spartans.