This evening, the UCLA Bruins will play their first of four games this season in Las Vegas. Some might say that the Bruins will look to make Vegas their home away from home, which is good considering that the Pac-12 Tournament will be played their again later this season.
Tonight’s game is more notable for what it’s not than what it is. It’s the first regular season UCLA basketball game that will not be televised since the Bruins hosted Washington State at the LA Sports Arena during the Pauley Renovation on March 1, 2012.
Instead, tonight’s game will be live streamed on ESPN+. A paid subscription will be required to watch the game.
It’s also UCLA’s second straight game against an ASUN opponent.
Bellarmine University is a school in Louisville, Kentucky with an enrollment of just 3,293 students. While it’s been a few years, I think Room 100 in UCLA’s Moore Hall held more students than that.
Last season was Bellarmine’s first season in Division I after moving up from Division II and the Knights finished the season with a 14-8 mark. That was good enough to finish second in the ASUN. It also earned the team a berth in the College Basketball Invitational where they beat Army before losing to Pepperdine.
While the Knights have begun the season 0-4, it shouldn’t be assumed they are as bad as their record suggests. Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport took his team to four Division II Final Fours before the team moved to Division I last year and they won one title in 2011.
It seems that the Knights have been having an issue so far with a lower shooting percentage than they had last season. Through four games, the Knights are shooting just 42.9% compared to 50.8% last year. That was good for third in the nation last season behind Gonzaga and Stephen F. Austin.
Bellarmine has earned a reputation as “The Team That Doesn’t Dribble.” This YouTube video, which has over 600,000 views explains how Bellarmine uses passing to generate a high shooting percentage.
The video does a really good job explaining the Knights’ offense. While I’m sure that Coach Cronin will have the Bruins prepared for this, it will be interesting to see how UCLA’s defense attempts to stop the Knight offense.
On Friday, Gonzaga held Bellarmine to just 38.9% from the field while the Zags shot 53.3% themselves.
But it isn’t necessarily the fact that they are a high percentage team that could prove problematic. It’s the fact that they utilize the pass as much as they do which could throw off the UCLA defense.
In the video, it appears that the Knights like to use a lot of crossing and misdirection to generate offense. UCLA will need to find a way to stop that attack.
While I don’t doubt that the Bruins will come out on top in tonight’s game, I think it would be interesting to watch how Coach Cronin and the Bruins adjust to a team which plays the game so differently than most. But, alas, the game won’t be televised, just live streamed on ESPN+.
This is your Bellarmine Knights vs. UCLA Bruins game thread.
Opponent: Bellarmine Knights (0-4)
Series Record: First meeting
When: 5:00 pm PT, Monday, November 21, 2021
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Live Stream: ESPN+ and the ESPN app (subscription req’d)
Radio:AM 570 in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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