UCLA Basketball Faces #19/20 Ohio State in CBS Sports Classic
This afternoon, the UCLA Bruins will be in Cleveland for the CBS Sports Classic. But, instead of facing the Kentucky Wildcats, the Bruins will face the #19/20 Ohio State Buckeyes due to organizers more closely aligning COVID-19 testing protocols between the competing programs and their respective conferences.
UCLA has won five straight after opening the season with a loss to San Diego State.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes are coming off their first loss of the season after opening the season with five wins against non-conference opponents. Wednesday night, Ohio State dropped their Big 10 Conference opener against Purdue, 67-60.
COVID-19 testing aside, this is a better matchup for the Bruins as Ohio State is ranked 20th in the AP Poll and 19th in the USA Today Coaches Poll while Kentucky has started the year just 1-4.
The Buckeyes are led by an excellent pair of guards. Sophomore E.J. Liddell leads the team in points per game with 15.5 while junior Duane Washington, Jr. isn’t far behind with an average of 14.5 ppg. Liddell also leads the team in rebounds with an average of 7.5 per game, but Liddell missed Wednesday’s game against Purdue and should also miss today’s game due to a non-COVID-19 illness. In Liddell’s place, look for either Musa Jallow or Jimmy Sotos to get the start. Jallow scored seven points against Purdue while Sotos added three. Sotos has been excellent from three-point range, making three of his four attempts this season.
Meanwhile, Ohio State’s third guard, senior CJ Walker, leads the team in assists with 4.5 per game while also averaging 12 ppg.
Junior forward Justice Sueing is the fourth Buckeye to average in double figures with 14.0 ppg. Senior forward Kyle Young rounds out the Buckeyes’ starting five. Young is second on the team in rebounds with an average of 6.5 per game.
Freshman forward Zed Key made his first start against Purdue Wednesday in place of Young. So, it’s possible he could start today, too, but Key didn’t take advantage of the chance to start. He only scored five points and only grabbed three rebounds against the Boilermakers.
The Buckeyes aren’t especially proficient from three-point range. As a team, they are shooting just 33.1% behind the arc. Washington has taken the most attempts on the team, 43, while making just 34.9% of them. Sueing is the starter with the best three-point shooting percentage, making 40% of his 15 attempts. Junior guard Justin Ahrens has the best percentage of anyone with five or more attempts. Ahrens has hit 50% of his 24 tries. Overall, UCLA shouldn’t expect Ohio State to try to beat them with the three which should make it easier for the Bruins to defend today.
The Bruins should welcome the chance to take on an Ohio State team that will be without their best scorer. That makes the Buckeyes more beatable and a win would go a long way to seeing UCLA back in the Top 25 on Monday.
The Mighty Bruin Zoom Party
We are also excited to announce that we will try something new today for the Ohio State game. We will be holding our first The Mighty Bruin Zoom Party! So, if you’re watching the game and want to virtually meet up with some fellow Bruin fans, join our Zoom meeting! Here are the deets:
Join the Zoom meeting at 1:15 PT.
Meeting ID: 952 1497 1514
2020 CBS Sports Classic
Teams: UCLA Bruins (5-1, 1-0) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1)
Series Record: UCLA leads, 6-5
When: 1:15 pm PT, Saturday, December 19, 2020
Where: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland, OH
TV: CBS with Carter Blackburn and Bill Raftery
Live Stream: CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports app
AM 1150 in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 111 & XM Ch. 207 (Ohio State call)
And, of course, here in The Mighty Bruin Game Thread!
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast