Friday, January 11, 2013
First look: UCLA at Colorado
By Peter Yoon
What: UCLA Bruins (13-3, 3-0) at Colorado Buffaloes (11-4, 1-2)
When: Saturday, 11 a.m. PT
Where: Coors Events Center, Boulder, Colo.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: AM 570
Scouting the Bruins: UCLA escaped Utah with a 57-53 victory Thursday night in its first true road game of the season and extended its win streak to eight games -- the longest current win streak of any team in the conference. The Bruins had been a high-flying act in the games leading into conference play but have shown in the early part of the league schedule they can grind out slow, defensive games, too. They are averaging only 68 points in Pac-12 play after averaging 80.9 in nonconference games, and won Thursday despite their lowest scoring output of the season. They've stepped up defensively and have held three consecutive opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field and are No. 4 in the conference in scoring defense (59.3 points per game) in conference games. Shabazz Muhammad continues to lead the scoring attack with 18.5 points per game despite a sub-par six-point effort Thursday. Travis Wear is averaging 15 points the past four games and is the only UCLA player to average double figures in those games.
Scouting the Buffaloes: Colorado earned its first conference victory Thursday night against USC but continued a disturbing trend of letting big leads dwindle at the end of games. The Buffaloes were up 17 against USC before pulling out a 66-60 win. Saturday at Arizona State, Colorado had a 13-point first-half lead, but lost, 65-56. And last week at Arizona, the Buffaloes let a 17-point first-half lead turn into a controversial overtime loss. Colorado, the defending Pac-12 tournament champion and only conference team to make the NCAA tournament last season, is led by the backcourt combination of Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie, who are averaging a combined 28.6 points and 5.2 assists per game. Freshman Josh Scott, a 6-foot-10 center, is averaging 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds, and 6-foot-7 forward Andre Roberson presents a matchup problem because of his inside-outside ability. He's averaging 11.3 points, has made 10 of 24 3-point attempts and is leading the conference with 11.8 rebounds per game.
The series: UCLA leads the all-time series, 5-1. UCLA won the last meeting, 77-60, last season at the Sports Arena. That was the first meeting between the teams since 1978. The last time UCLA played at Colorado was 1963.
Quick quote: "This will be more intense. Colorado may now have the best home-court advantage in the league. Going in there and doing the walk-though, you can see where it can be very loud with a packed house in there because the ceiling is low and they are right on top of you, so it's going to be a great atmosphere." -- UCLA coach Ben Howland on playing at the Coors Event Center.