Friday, December 7, 2012
First look: UCLA vs. Texas
By Peter Yoon
What: UCLA Bruins (5-3) vs Texas Longhorns (5-3)
When: Saturday, 2:15 p.m. PT
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston
Radio: AM 570
Scouting the Bruins: UCLA hasn't played a game that counted in a week, although they did defeat Cal State San Marcos, 83-60, in an exhibition game Tuesday. After starting the season 3-0, UCLA has alternated wins and losses in each of the last five games. Freshman Shabazz Muhammad has scored in double figures in every game he's played this season, the first UCLA freshman since Kevin Love in 2007 to open his career with five consecutive double-digit scoring games. Point guard Larry Drew II is second in the nation with 8.5 assists per game and is fourth with a 6.2 assists to turnover ration. Defensively, the Bruins are still a work in progress, however, as opponents have shot 57.7 percent or better in the second half of each of UCLA's three losses. Coach Ben Howland has used a zone to some success, but hopes to get back to using his preferred man-to-man soon.
Scouting the Longhorns: Texas has played all season without point guard Myck Kabongo, who is awaiting word on his eligibility from the NCAA. In his absence, the Longhorns have struggled, with a loss to Division III Chaminade in Maui and another to USC the next day. Texas lost to Georgetown, 64-41, on Tuesday in New York and had 17 points at halftime in that game. The Longhorns mix man-to-man and zone defenses and have held opponents to 32 percent shooting this season. Offensively, guards Sheldon McLellan and Julien Lewis lead the way with 16.4 and 11.3 points per game, respectively, but the Longhorns are shooting only 41.3 percent as a team. The Longhorns have plenty of size, with six players at 6-7 or taller in the regular rotation. Cameron Ridley, a 6-9 freshman, is a shot-blocking specialist and Jonathan Holmes, a 6-7 forward, is averaging 8.4 rebounds per game.
The series: Texas leads the all-times series, 3-2, and has won the last three in a row. Last year, Texas won, 69-59, at the L.A. Sports Arena.
Fast facts: The game is part of a double-header featuring the men's and women's teams from both schools and proceeds will benefit the MD Proton Therapy Center, a cancer treatment facility in Houston. ... Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans, was the site of the 2011 Final Four and will hold the Final Four in 2016.