December 12, 2014

Gonzaga takes on UCLA at Pauley Pavilion

Gonzaga (8-1) will have their hands full Saturday night at 7 p.m. when they face the UCLA Bruins (7-2) at legendary Pauley Pavilion.

This Bruin team is young, but has superior talent and athleticism. They have size, deep shooters, NBA prospects, and excellent rebounding. They are one of the top teams in the nation in scoring and one a very few teams that boast a starting five where all five score in double figures.

Coach Alford’s son, Bryce, is the point guard and is an outstanding one. He scores 17.5 ppg, 7.1 assists, shoots .900 from the foul line, and a respectable .355 from deep. He will be matched up with Kevin Pangos, who has been in a slump the past two games. Bryce has a couple inches on Pangos, who seems to struggle at times with big guards. It would be nice to see him blow up on the road and win this battle but it will be a steep challenge.

Besides Bryce, the biggest deep shooting threat on UCLA is Norman Powell .463, who can really light it up. He is also their leading scorer hitting 17.9 ppg. Powell will probably go up against Byron Wesley in what should be a fairly even matchup. Wesley’s biggest challenge will be to get in Powell’s grill and slow him down on the perimeter.

The Bruins have size in Kevon Looney, an NBA prospect, and Toney Parker, who provide about 25 ppg and 20 boards per game between the pair. If the refs don’t get carried away with too many phantom foul calls on Karnowski and Wiltjer we should be ok. But, it’s in Pauly so we’ll see how that plays out.

Now, here’s where we get a clear advantage over these Bruins. After the starting five, they fall off, and I mean they drop off a cliff. They have zero depth. Gonzaga needs to use their depth to their advantage. Rotate players in and out, and wear them down. UCLA also has a tendency to get off to slow starts. They have had to climb out of half time deficits to get wins on occasion. That being said, it would be nice if Gonzaga got off to a fast start.

This game is extremely important as the Zags need a marquee victory on their resume. There will not be another chance to get one. Yes, we still have Memphis down the road but a win vs UCLA in Pauley Pavilion would do very well.

I expect a fairly high scoring game that the Zags should be able to pull out. About 85-77 feels about right. One more thing…the teams are 1-1 but the last time we met was in 2006 in the NCAA Tournament. That’s all I’d like to say about that, other than some revenge would be very satisfying! 


Osco said...

OK. Now this is getting a little creepy. Are you sure you are not posting your prediction after the game is over? Actual score 87 - 74.
BTW - I'm not sure if I saw this right, but it kind of looked like Morrison was crying after the game... Naw, maybe not.

gaz-tastic said...

Yeah, I'm startin to creep myself too. Kinda lookin like I actually know stuff.

Anyhow, AMMO never cries. It was the garlic & onion sandwich that made his eyes water a tad.

Also, sorry for the late reply. I'm such a prophet, yet didn't know I'd have my phone stolen, and my comp go out, shortly before Christmas.

But, wifey FINALLY fixed my comp and Santa brought me a new phone, so I'll be back at it very soon. Soon as I get to the T Mobile shop and get set up, life will be improved.

GO Zags!!~