It doesn’t get much better this.
Tonight, the #2 UCLA Bruins will face the #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in a rematch of the 2020-21 National Semifinal game which went into overtime. It was a thrilling game, even though the Bruins fell, 93-90.
Now, these teams are at the top of the AP men’s basketball poll and tonight promises to be another great game.
Of course, that is if the Bruins don’t play like they did last night against Bellarmine.
The good news for UCLA is that the Zags lost three of their five starters from last season while the Bruins have returned all of theirs.
Drew Timme, who led Gonzaga in scoring last year, is one of the two returning starters for head coach Mark Few. So far this season, Timme is averaging 18.8 points per game, which is amazingly close to the 19.0 ppg he averaged last season.
The other returning starter is guard Andrew Nembhard. While he averaged 9.1 points per game and he led the team in assists last season, this year he is averaging 7.0 ppg and 4.8 assists per game.
So, who have replaced Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs and Joel Ayayi?
Sophomore guard Julian Strawther is second on the team in scoring with an average of 14.8 points per game. His shooting percentage is an unbelievable 59.1% and his three-point percentage is also off the charts at 52.2%. Senior guard Rasir Bolton has transferred to Gonzaga after playing the past two seasons at Iowa State. Bolton is shooting 52.9% while averaging 10.4 ppg. Freshman center Chet Holmgren is third on the team in scoring with an average of 12.8 ppg and he leads the team with a 70.1% shooting percentage.
Look for freshman guard Nolan Hickman to be one of the first guys off the bench for Gonzaga. He’s the only non-starter averaging more than 20 minutes per game. Of course, his 59.4% shooting percentage probably has something to do with that.
The Bruins come into tonight’s game as a 5.5 point underdog. Last night’s game probably did little to change help UCLA’s cause in that regard even though the game against Bellarmine wasn’t televised.
But Jalen Suggs is off to the NBA and I fully expect that Mick Cronin will have the team ready for tonight’s game.
Of course, payback is a bitch and UCLA is due to give Gonzaga a little payback tonight.
I don’t know how tonight’s game is going to end, but I think we all want to see a little payback. Ultimately, though, I think the fact that the Bruins have the entire team back from last season’s amazing Final Four run works in UCLA’s favor and the Bruins win tonight’s battle, and it will definitely be a battle.
TuneIn.com now has UCLA’s games listed as “premium” content. So, rather than using TuneIn, you can just listen through the official website like we have done with the small sports for a long time in order to listen to Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray call tonight’s game instead of Dave O’Brien, Dick Vitale, and Sean Farnham. If you prefer UCLA’s radio team, be sure to right-click on it so that you can open up another tab and have it going while you chat in the comments below. Listen to today’s game online.
In the meantime, here’s how to watch today’s game:This is your #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. UCLA Bruins game thread.
Opponent: #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs (5-0)
Series Record: UCLA trails, 2-4
When: 7:00 pm PT, Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
TV: ESPN with Dave O’Brien, Dick Vitale, and Sean Farnham
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app
Radio:AM 1150 in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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UCLA needed a leader in this game to step up and score and no one did. Was extremely unimpressed with juzang and Jules. When they aren’t scoring baskets, they are a defensive liability and last two games showed… they have trouble defending athletic guards. Be interested to see what their numbers were…
Also, why the abysmal 3 pt shooting? Juaqez, juzang, singleton, and Jules combined for 2 three point baskets. Meanwhile tyger who has been shooting well took 0 attempts?
I said in this game that ucla plays more like an nba team with lots of 1:1 … which is fine for developing nba players. But they’re gonna have to pass it around a lot better in conference play or they’ll wind up with a lot more losses then they’re hoping for
Not fun to watch... But out of adversity comes strength. This should (properly) bring the team down a peg and force them to focus. The second half was definitely better, but a 20 point hole was too big to climb out. Bruins now know where they are. Not close to #1. That's ok by me as long as they continue to improve and listen to their coach. Go Bruins!
Nighters, Mighty Bruins. That wasn't worth the two hours.
On a bright side, I think Watson competed tonight and learned a lot tonight.
Ugh, terrible night. But, only one, early season game....learn, get better, get healthy, and move ion.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the Mighty Bruin Family!
A far cry from the playing against Villanova
I feel bad for my friends that went. But admire them for going and supporting our guys.
This game was painful, but necessary. See where that bar is Bruins? Now, can you get there?
Someone make sure Few calls an Uber back to the hotel tonight
Thank goodness this is only a pre-season game. As has been said, let's just learn from it and move on. It is meaningless. Let's win conference and then let the chips fall where they may.
We played well about 6 minutes out of 40
Why does Gonzaga have that kid in still?
We are going to need to find ways to score when the outside shots are not dropping. I think it is better defense and transition baskets. We have seen very little of that tonight.
This should be good for ucla… put them in their place… long season and they seemed arrogant I. The game yesterday and it showed up in the first half to put them out of the game
Man these guys are whiners. Robbin thinks these guys milk every contact.
We cannot hit a 3
Nice foul on Timme!
Time to Mute this
Gotta make those easy ones, Jules (and every other Bruin who's missed the free throws)
We are still giving up too many easy shots/layups. We have had a few spurts of good play, but need that to be consistent. Let's see if we can close out the game with some intensity.
At this point just winning the 2nd half point battle to save us from embarrassment would feel great.
Geez…Gonzaga v Duke on Friday. Who do you root for in that one?? The meteor??
Clark is the only one really competing
Ball don’t lie, ahole
What kind of crappy shoes are they wearing? They keep slipping and falling.
Ball don't lie!!
Jeeze Louise the hole is still as deep.
Gonzaga looking like Neymar
We really gotta fix that inbounds pass under the rim. You’d think that Stanford game would have been the last time we’d ever blow that.
Bs he went for the ball
Man, even Singleton can't knock one down
Singleton off as well
Yes! Drawing those fouls!
Clark showing his usual hustle
Jules so off
OMG Timme totally cleared out on that pass, and of course no call
This is why I love Mick. If Johnny won’t guard, Johnny won’t play. CSA never had balls big enough to hold anyone accountable.
Bolton, Holmgren, and Strawther have 3; their Watson have 4. Let's go, Bruins! Let's foul them out!!
Wish Clark could improve ft's. He's such a fighter under basket.
Better effort. Zags have 8 fouls and we have none. Need to take advantage.
Finally we're getting offensive rebounds again! We do that and we have a chance!
We are rim magnets, tonight!
Gotta hit FTs