After UCLA surgically dismantled the Runnin’ Utes on Thursday night, the Bruins return to the hardwood this evening with a national over-the-air broadcast on Fox against the Colorado Buffaloes. As Dimitri pointed in Thursday’s postgame article, the Bruins are currently playing like one of the best teams in the country.
On the other hand, the Colorado Buffaloes, tonight’s opponent, has been up and down. After sweeping the Oregon schools last weekend, they lost to Southern Cal on Thursday, 68-61. They have also lost to two of the worst teams in the Pac-12 — UC Berkeley and Washington. But the Buffs have beaten two ranked teams this season, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
So, Colorado can become a tough team to beat if the Bruins aren’t dialed in the way they were on Thursday night. Now, should that happen? Of course not. But, as Chris Berman was fond of saying, that’s why they play the games.
Let’s look at the Buffs’ starting five.
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle will probably start a lineup consisting of three guards, a forward and a center.
Only two of the Buffalo starters are averaging in double figures. Sophomore guard KJ Simpson leads the Buffs with an average of 17.8 ppg. He also leads the team with 66 assists. Simpson has also taken 242 shots, the most on the team, but he isn’t as accurate as Tristan da Silva who is the other Buffalo averaging in double figures. The junior forward from Germany whose brother Oscar played at Stanford is averaging 14.9 ppg. Not only does da Silva have the second best shooting percentage on the team with 52.5%, the fact that he’s taken 200 shots means he’s the team’s most deadly shooter. He also leads the team in steals with 27.
While junior guard J’Vonne Hadley’s 55.6% shooting percentage is the best on the team, the fact that he has only taken 108 shots means that he isn’t as big of a threat as Simpson or da Silva. In fact, that is the reason why Hadley is only averaging 8.9 ppg. One stat which seems to show a reason why the Buffs have struggled is the fact that Hadley leads the team in rebounds with an average of 6.2 per game rather than forward da Silva or center Lawson Lovering.
The Buffs’ third guard is junior Nique Clifford. Clifford averages just 6.3 ppg, but it looks like he’s in the lineup for his defense. Clifford, who is 6’6” tall, is second on the Buffs in blocks with 12. Only Lovering has more.
Speaking of Lovering, the 7’1” tall center is only third on Colorado in rebounds with an average of 4.5 per game. When your big man is averaging just 3.8 ppg and not leading your team in rebounds, you may have a problem. At least Lovering leads the Buffaloes in blocks with 19.
Look for three backup guards to get plenty of playing time. Yale grad transfer Jalen Gabbidon averages 6.0 ppg. True freshman Javon Ruffin has been averaging 5.6 ppg. Junior Luke O’Brien is averaging 4.8 ppg. Each of these guys should see significant time this evening.
The bottom line here is that this game shouldn’t even be close, and it won’t be unless the Bruins come out flat.
Tonight’s game will be on Pac-12 Networks with Ted Robinson and national treasure Bill Walton calling the game. Personally, I’m not sure why you would want to turn down the volume and not listen to Big Red, but if you do, 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. Utah Utes game thread. Here’s how to watch tonight’s game:
Opponent: Colorado Buffaloes (11-7, 3-4)
Series Record: UCLA leads, 16-7
When: 5:00 pm PT, Saturday, January 14, 2023
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Fox with Tim Brando and Jim Jackson
Live Stream: FoxSports.com and the Fox Sports app
Local Radio: AM 570 with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 108 and XM Ch. 198 (UCLA Call)
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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U clap clap!
Bona wins the tip against Lovering!
Deuce for singleton is the first points in the game.
Jaime for two!
Looks like a concerted effort to get Jaime the ball early
Buffalo chips pull ahead 5-4 with a three.
Jaylen with another o-reb!
10 seconds violation, good pressing Bruins!
Kind of sloppy on offense right now
Jaime hits again!
Good D Jaime, Jaylen gets the TO and goes the length.
Bona muscles it in, beauty.
Physical defensive game
Bona has 2 Pfs, Nwuba is in.
Bruins aren’t getting good looks.
Crummy shooting so far.
Were down by 3 and offense is cold.
Steal and score by Jaime.
Gah, our free throw percentage must be awful this half
Can’t make a free throw.
Tygrr to Jaime for the score, beauty!
Bruins are 4-11, 36%, from the free throw line. Come on, boys.
Offense stuck in neutral
Aw man, we are so cold.
Even a fast break and a Clark layup is an adventure.
4 for eleven at the line isn't going to make it.
Down to three, Jaylen to Jaime!
Singleton has been cold lately.
31-28 we need a stop here!
We can't hit from any distance, it's all muscle inside. The score at the half doesn't reflect the stats.
Well, a better finish over the last 2-3 minutes. Considering how cold we were shooting, including 0-7 from 3pt land, it's not so bad. You'd like to think we'll start making some shots in the 2nd half.
We also had some different personnel use. Not much of Bona. Mac Etienne got extended minutes (and didn't look great). Tyger and Andrews played together quite a bit. McClendon got a few minutes. I think as long as the game wasn't too far out of hand, Cronin wanted to get some guys some more playing time. I expect the bench will shorten up in the second half too.
Still ice cold for the first 3 minutes. Argh.
Still lid on the basket for us.
1 for 10 to start the half.
What is the opposite of surgical? Bruins missing a lot of good shots.
0 for 11 from 3 .Plenty of open looks at them too
Wow 3 O-rebs and no Bruin points. :(
And we go to sleep on the inbound play. Worst performance from our guys in a very very long time.
How is it possible we are only down by 8? LFG Bruins!
Who is that awful referee?
Singleton, another beauty for 2.
Down by 6 with 10:37 to go. Plenty of time if we can start hitting some shots.
9 points with half a half left. Let's go Bruins!
4 points LET'S GO!
Jaylen for 3!
Jaylen for 3 after another Bona rejection.