UCLA vs. DePaul - Game Preview
By Bruin Basketball Report
UCLA heads to Anaheim this Saturday for the John R. Wooden Classic to take on the Blue Demons of DePaul.
The Bruins are coming off a 85-67 victory over Cal State Northridge last Sunday. Although it was a sloppy game in general for both teams, UCLA easily handled the Matadors, dominating them at every facet of the game with superior athletes at every spot on the floor.
While DePaul comes in from the venerated Big East conference and the program possesses some impressive pedigree, it is not in the same shape that former Hall Fame Head Coach Ray Meyer left it when he retired a few decades ago.
The Blue Demons' (4-3) three losses this season were against California, 77-67, Northwestern,and on Wednesday against Morgan State. California is a second tier Pac-10 team this year and neither Northwestern nor Morgan State are premiere teams.
DePaul has struggled mightily on the offensive end. The team is averaging just 66.6 points on 37.8% field goal shooting and knocking down a mere 28% on three-pointers.
Despite a big starting frontline, which includes two 6'10 players, the Blue Demons are getting outrebounded by a margin of 3.1 rebounds a game.
Defensively, DePaul is allowing opponents to shoot 42.1% and score 68.3 point per game. The team plays both a man-to-man and zone defense. With some of the struggles UCLA has had against the zone, they should expect to see plenty of zone defense from the Blue Demons.
DePaul is led on offense by forward Dar Tucker (6'4, 210, So). The sophomore is averaging 20.3 points a game but hasn't been efficient, hitting on just 36.9% from the floor and a poor 28.6% on three-pointers. He's also the team's second best rebounder at 7.0 a game.
A quick and muscular player who can shoot and drive effectively to the basket, Tucker can be a tough player to stop. He takes over 25% of the team's shot attempts. Stop Tucker and you stop the Blue Demon offense.
UCLA's Jrue Holiday will likely get the initial assignment against Tucker. Holiday has typically been defending the opponent's best offensive player for the Bruins this season. Tucker will be a good, physical test for Holiday.
Along the frontline, DePaul starts twin towers, Mac Koshwal (6'10, 240, So) and Matija Poscic (6'10, 235, Sr).
Koshwal is an effective low post scorer and the team's best rebounder. He's averaging 12.8 points on 55.6% shooting and 10.8 rebounds. Koshwal is a wide body and needs to be kept off the boards. Alfred Aboya will get the starting defensive assignment.
Poscic is a solid player inside who is averaging 6.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in 24.9 minutes a game.
At point guard the Blue Demons start Will Walker (6'0, 180, Jr). Although not a dynamic floor leader, he does take very good care of the ball, averaging just over one turnover a game in 32.1 minutes. He's averaging 10.3 points on a measly 35.2% shooting and a poor 18.2% from beyond the arc while dishing out just 2.4 assists a game.
Senior Jabari Currie (6'4, 215, Sr) is at the other guard spot. He has struggled shooting from the field, hitting on just 31.4% on field goals and 31.6% on three-pointers. The senior guard is averaging 4.9 points and 1.1 assists a game.
Off the bench, one-time UCLA recruiting target, Krys Faber from Los Angeles is averaging 7.3 mintes a game.
With their superiority in athleticism and talent, UCLA should easily take this victory at the Wooden Classic. The Blue Demons are a young squad that can't match-up with the Bruins, and moreover the team is struggling to generate any consistent offense.
The contest should provide the Bruins another opportunity to improve upon their game.
Freshman post players Drew Gordon and J'mison Morgan are averaging just 10.7 and 7.0 minutes per game, respectively. Look for both players to see more time especially against the tall DePaul frontline.
UCLA vs. DePaul
Date: December 13, 2008
Time: 4:00 PM
Place: Honda Center
Radio: AM 570