You can always count on a rowdy and competitive time when No.3 UCLA (19-1, 6-1 Pac 12) and No. 14/13 Arizona (17-2, 6-0 Pac 12) tipoff against one another. It is even more intense, when there is something on the line, and there is almost always something on the line, which will be the case when the Bruins host the Cats.
When the two old rivals meet at 1:00PM PST at Pauley Pavilion, it will be the first time since the 2007 that the two teams will play one another while both squads are ranked in the AP Top 15.
The Bruins have won seven out of the last nine games, while playing on Nell and John Wooden floor, and since 2005-06 season, UCLA has won 16 games against the Wildcats against only 10 losses.
There are some similarities with the two teams. Both, the Bruins and the Cats, have received outstanding play from freshmen. Both teams have a sprinkling of experience, that helps both teams, smooth out the rough spots.
Both UCLA and Arizona have multiple players averaging in double figures. The Bruins have six players who average scoring in double digits and the Cats have five.
Senior guard Bryce Alford leads the Bruins in scoring averaging 17.4 points per game (ppg). Freshman forward TJ Leaf is next at 16.9 ppg. Isaac Hamilton coming off a fantastic game with a season high 33 points is averaging 15.0 ppg. Another Bruin freshman sensation, point guard, Lonzo Ball averages 14.2 ppg. The spark plug off the bench, sophomore guard Aaron Holiday averages 13.2. Steady and reliable, Thomas Welsh averages 10.5
For the Wildcats, freshman forward, Lauri Markkanen (7-0, 230) leads the way in scoring and rebounds. Markkanen averages 17.0 points ppg and 7.4 rebounds per game (rpg). He chips in 1.1 assists per game (apg).
Freshman guard, Rawle Alkins (6-5, 220) averages 12.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and 2.3 apg for the Cats. Junior center Dusan Ristic (7-0, 250) chips in 11.9 ppg and 6.4 rpg. Freshman guard Kobi Simmons (6-5, 175) is next on Arizona’s list of top scorers contributing 11.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 2.4 apg. Senior guard Kadeem Allen (6-3, 205) averages 10.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg and 3.1 aps.
The Wildcats are coached by one of college basketball’s best, Sean Miller. He has been at the helm for eight seasons and accumulated a 205-63 record for a winning percentage of .765 for the Wildcats.
For Miller’s career as a D-I coach, his record is 325-110 and he has led Arizona to the sweet 16 four time, including three in a row. He has also led Xavier to two sweet 16 appearances.
Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00PM PST. The game will be televised nationally by CBS with Ian Eagle doing the play-by-play and Bill Raftery analyzing the action.
If you have to be out and about UCLA’s flagship station AM 570 will broadcast the contest with Josh Lewin and UCLA great Tracy Murray in their usual roles. SIRIUS/XM Radio Channel: Ch. 84/Ch. 84 and SIRIUS App. Channel: Ch. 84 will broadcast the match on satellite.