College Basketball Game of the Week: Villanova vs. UCLA
Who doesn’t want to stay up late and watch this game tipping at 11:30 p.m. eastern time? This will be a matchup giving college basketball fans a taste of spectacular non-conference games that typically do not happen until March.
Two elite coaches Jay Wright and Mick Cronin will battle it out to add a huge win for the end of the season resume.
Villanova was locked in defensively against Mount Saint Mary’s. They forced the opposition to turn the ball over 18 times resulting in 27 points for the Wildcats. Wright has his veteran team prepared to make noise this season.
Their season opener was impressive, winning by 40 points against Mount Saint Mary’s, a team that was in March Madness and returns a lot of their veteran players from that roster.
Justin Moore might be the best player on Villanova this season after making great strides in the offseason. Scoring 27 points, Moore can step up and be the leading scorer for the team this season.
Collin Gillespie is back after his MCL injury and was selected as the Big East preseason player of the year. Scary to think that he was 4th on the team in scoring Tuesday afternoon.
This team has so much depth with a plethora of guys who can score. Jay Wright went 10 guys deep in the rotation featuring the debuts of freshmen Trey Patterson, Jordan Longino and Nnanna Njoku.
UCLA will be without starting center Cody Riley who suffered a sprained MCL in its win over CSU Bakersfield. Riley is the best paint scoring option for the Bruins and he will surely be missed as the Wildcats do not have much rim protection this year.
Myles Johnson, the transfer from Rutgers will get the start being 6-11 averaging 1.5 blocks per game a season ago. His presence in the paint last season was vital for their rim protection and will help to stop Villanova on the drive.
Johnny Juzang, the man who backed UCLA in its final four-run, opened the season with 19 points. The Bruins also had Jules Bernard, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Tyger Campbell and Jaylen Clark scoring in double figures.
As a collective team, they shot 48% from the 3-point line with eight blocked shots and seven steals on the defensive side of the ball.
UCLA is still rolling after their impressive run last season, but it will be put to the test against Villanova. Make this a true test of whether UCLA will be a top dog in the nation this year after their unyielding march madness run last season.
It is big news that UCLA will be without center Riley, however, they do have some pieces coming off their bench that are bigger and more experienced than Villanova’s interior play. Both teams looked dominant in their opening games, but the Wildcats were able to embarrass a March Madness team from the previous season.
Yes, both teams are experienced, but in the end, Villanova has more talent and is backed by a two-time national champion in Wright. Expect this to be a dog fight until the end with the Wildcats being hungry for a win after the end of the season last year.
Prediction: Villanova 72, UCLA 67
Austin Groft is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com
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