Pauley Pavilion | Westwood, CA
6:00 pm | ESPN
In what should be one of the better Pac-12 games this season, the Bruins are slated to take on the Buffs of Colorado at Pauley Pavilion. Both the Bruins and Buffs are expected to be NCAA tournament teams, according to ESPN’s bracketology. Currently the Bruins are a 6th seed and Colorado is a 10th seed. A win tonight for the Buffs would go a long way in securing themselves an at-large birth in the dance.
Colorado lost its best player earlier in the season when point guard Spencer Dinwiddie went down with a season ending injury. Since then, Colorado has gone 4-3, including a loss to UCLA at home. However, Colorado has managed to right the ship in the last two weeks and is riding a three game winning streak into Pauley. Despite the fact that Colorado lost to UCLA in Boulder by the score of 69-56, they competed well into the second half and have now adjusted to playing without Dinwiddie.
The Buffs are led by Askia Booker, the talented guard who has been tasked with replacing Dinwiddie’s production. He has been magnificent in their past couple of games; however, there’s not a ton of fire power behind him.
UCLA is one of the more talented teams on the West Coast and have only lost once at Pauley Pavilion this season, and that was against then #1 ranked Arizona. UCLA is currently 2nd in the conference and has been led by do-everything forward Kyle Anderson. Anderson has some dynamic pieces around him, including, but not limited to, Jordan Adams and freshman Zach LaVine.
While UCLA is certainly favored to win this contest, by 10.5 points no less, I don’t believe Colorado is going to make it easy on the Bruins. I expect a defensive game and low shooting percentages from both sides. UCLA is probably going to win tonight at Pauley Pavilion but not without a couple of heart palpitations along the way.
Prediction: UCLA 64 – Colorado 62