The new college basketball polls came out earlier today and UCLA ticked up one spot to #24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Bruins remain unranked in the AP Poll this week.
Tonight, UCLA opens play in the Allstate Maui Invitational. This year’s Maui Invitational is actually not being played on Maui due to the devastating wildfire which hit Laihana earlier this year. Instead, this year’s event is being played at the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
After playing the #4/5 Marquette Golden Eagles tonight, UCLA will take on either Kansas or Chaminade tomorrow with a third game being played on Wednesday.
The Marquette Golden Eagles should be somewhat familiar to most Bruin fans since UCLA has played them twice in the past three years. In December 2020, the Bruins hosted the Golden Eagles, winning 69-60. Then, in December 2021, UCLA visited Milwaukee and, despite a heck of a time getting to Milwaukee, the Bruins still won the game by a score of 67-56 to remain undefeated against Marquette.
Tonight’s game will be a challenge for the rebuilding Bruins. Until now, Coach Cronin has been able to tinker with his lineup, playing some mismatches for the purpose of challenging his team. He won’t have that luxury against the Golden Eagles tonight since they are ranked fourth in the AP Poll and fifth in the Coaches Poll. The good news is that, if UCLA can pull off an upset tonight, it will certainly help them in next week’s polls.
Marquette head coach Shaka Smart is in his third season leading the Golden Eagles after leaving Texas to go to the Big East school. Since taking over the Eagles, Smart has a record of 51-20 and he has taken the team to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first two seasons.
Let’s look at the Golden Eagles’ starting five.
Look for Smart to start a lineup consisting of three guards and two forwards.
Junior guard Kam Jones leads the Golden Eagles in scoring with an average of 19.3 ppg and he’s second on the team with an average of 3.0 assists per game. Jones is Marquette’s biggest threat from long-range, having taking 21 threes already this season, and he is the only Golden Eagle to have made ten threes so far. UCLA shut him down offensively the last time these teams met when Jones was held to just three points.
The last time the Bruins played Marquette guard Tyler Kodek didn’t do much. He finished the game with no points but he did have seven assists to go with his four rebounds. Now, Kodek is the second-best scorer on the team, averaging 14.7 ppg, while being the team leader in assists with 4.7 per game. He is also the second-best starter when it comes to rebounds with an average of 5.3 per game.
Guard Stevie Mitchell is the third starter who played against the Bruins in 2021. While he took just one shot, which he missed, He’s now averaging 5.7 ppg and 3.0 rpg.
Senior Oso Ighodaro is one of the starting forwards and he’s the only man on the team to have played against UCLA twice. So far this year, Ighodaro is third on the team in scoring with an average of 13.0 ppg and he leads the Golden Eagles in rebounds with 8.7 per game. He is the worst free throw shooter of anyone with more than one attempt. So, he’s a guy UCLA may want to put on the line down the stretch if they need to.
Junior forward David Joplin barely saw the floor against UCLA two years ago. He played just two minutes and missed both shots he took. This season, he’s averaging 7.7 ppg. While he’s taken 13 shots behind the arc, he’s made just four, giving him a three-point shooting percentage of just 30.8%. For that matter, his shooting inside the arc isn’t much better. He’s just 3-of-9 from shorter ranges.
This will be the toughest test so far for UCLA. The Bruins have gone from playing cupcakes to facing a team that’s ranked fourth in the nation. Tonight’s game will give us a good snapshot of where UCLA’s squad is right now.
I’m a little concerned that UCLA’s players may still be getting to know each other a bit, not having formed the trust and the bonds that teams that have been together for a while tend to do. That’s why I expect Marquette to come out on top tonight as Shaka Smart will start the game withan experienced group of guys on the floor.
Tonight’s game will be on ESPN2 with Kanoa Leahey and Bill Walton calling the game. If you prefer, you can listen to Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray. Just 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.
This is your UCLA men’s basketball vs. Marquette Eagles game thread. Here’s how to watch, listen and stream tonight’s game:
Opponent: #4/5 Marquette Golden Eagles (3-0)
Series Record: UCLA leads, 4-0.
When: 8:30 pm PT, Monday, November 20, 2023
Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, HI
TV: ESPN2 with Kanoa Leahey, Bill Walton and Angel Gray
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app
Local Radio: AM 1150 with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
Satellite Radio: XM Ch. 373 (UCLA Call)
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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U! Clap! Clap! Clap!
I have been so consumed with the huge dumpster fire that Chipster and Jarmond seamlessly created that I almost forgot we had a huge b-ball game tonight with a real coach and Berkey too!
Here we go Bruins!
Game switched to ESPN. U for now.
Great to see new guy start. I think he is going to make a difference.
Alley oop gone wrong for Marquette?
This is first game I have been able to watch. Wow Bona really worked on his FT shooting firm. So much better.
So far we are holding our own.
See that Andrews is back in the rotation.
D is aggressive.
Mack way to stay with it!
A little rough on the edges especially on offense but I like what I see.
This seems like a winnable game for ucla… I think ucla can stay disciplined with cronin help. Just have to hope the refs call a clean game
This is the first quality opponent this year. They came ready to play. That tells me there is tough competition in practices.
Berke is looking rusty. Too bad he was not eligible for at least one game before Marquette.
Mack needs to stay in the offense.
Come on Will! Pulling for the return of your 3. First if many please!
Berkeley looks bigger than Bona.
Two hand jam!
Berke 6’ 9” point guard!!
It is great to see a team that plays like they are being coached.
They are rattled.
D is looking good!
Berke blocks the shot and tries to chase it down. Great to see!
We need to make a few 3s.
A good start - looking pretty solid so far, I expected the team to be a little scattered
Defence looks pretty decent for a young team early in the season
Mack looks selfish on offense. Too much one on one in traffic.
Cronin is still trying to figure out our team but I believe we will be a sweet 16 team by tournament time. My Trojan friends think they have better team than we do.
Getting careless with the ball
Couple of sloppy turnovers from behind
Gotta give credit - that was a nice bucket
They are hacking away at our big men and no calls… tough reffing but ucla still playing tough and not complaining… looking good against a tough opponent. Marquette won’t go far in the tourney this year without a big man
They’ve looked good on the boards
Up 5 at the half with all these new pieces. Could be a fun year. MCCLENDON HIT 2 THREES!
This is a great start against this opponent. Great to see Will hit his shot. He had a great reputation coming in last year but never got going cuz he did not play much. Hopefully this is a good sign.
McClendon!!! He couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean last year!
Here we go Bruins.