Friday, December 08, 2006

Quick Thought On UCLA

Quick Thought on UCLA

Hey Gang - - I apologize, but I do not have time again this afternoon to put out a full preview for the UCLA game tomorrow. Let me give you a couple of quick thoughts and thing or two to watch out for.

Obviously UCLA is one of the premier teams in the country, as is directly reflected by their #1 ranking in both the AP and Coaches Polls.

The first thing that jumps out when looking at UCLA is they are not nearly as big as LSU. One thing the Aggies struggled with greatly on Tuesday night was handling the size and athleticism of the LSU guards on the perimeter and big men inside. UCLA is probably just as athletic as LSU, but at least they will not have the major size advantage that LSU had.

The UCLA Bruins only feature one guard with good size in the 6'5" Aaron Affalo. Affalo, a Junior this season, is the team's scoring leader averaging 17 points per game. He is joined in the backcourt by Darren Collison, a traditional 6'1" point guard who adds 12.4 points per game.

I would look for Law to pick up Collison while the Aggies will likely look to Dominique Kirk to attempt to contain Affalo. Hopefully Dominique can slow him down a little bit as Affalo has a good stroke from the outside but also loves to get momentum going to the basket.

Josh Carter's main assignment will be Josh Shipp, the Bruins' second leading scorer at 14 points per game. Both Carter and Shipp are long players with good size who love to shoot the 3. I think this game will be decided in the paint by the big guys, but keep an eye on this matchup to give one team or the other a slight edge.

Joe Jones will be matched up inside on Lorenzo Mata, a 6'9" 240 pound Junior big man who loves to bang the boards. Mata, who is not really an offensive threat (7+ ppg) is averaging just over 8 boards per contest.

Mata is joined in the frontcourt by a Sophomore, 6'8" Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Uhhhh - - OK. I will just call this cat -- Luc -- if that's ok with you guys.

Antanas Kavaliauskas will be responsible for trying to keep Luc off of the boards on Saturday afternoon. Luc brings a little more balance to the UCLA frontcourt as he averages nearly 12 points and 8 rebounds per game.

I hope Packer and Nantz are on their "A" game as trying to call a battle between Antanas Kavaliauskas and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is going to be a tough task. Those are a couple of big names that will be easy to stumble over.
I think the frontcourt matchup will be fun to watch as all 4 players are fairly similar.

UCLA only has two guys on their bench that average double digit minutes - - Alfred Aboya (6'8" / 235 / Soph / Fwd) and Michael Roll (6'5" / 200 / Soph / Grd). There are a couple of other bit players, but nobody that has the ability to make a huge impact on the game.

I think the biggest thing to look for tomorrow is that UCLA plays a completely different style than LSU did. UCLA likes to get out and push the tempo and run. They will also likely mix in both man-to-man and zone defenses. They will not be nearly as bruising and physical as LSU was. My guess is that this style of game will play more into the Aggies strengths.

I would look for Joe and AK to both have big games on Saturday and if the Aggies can get an ounce of anything from Acie Law (who is on a miserable 2 game skid), this game could be a little closer than UCLA would like.

Surely Josh Carter is going to go off again sometime before too long, right? Tomorrow would maybe be a good time to have that happen

If Gillispie can get his guys back on defense and slow the UCLA transition game, I think the Aggies will be able to hang around and possibly steal this game. My guess is that after all of the breakdowns on both ends of the floor on Tuesday night that you will see the good guys look much more focused tomorrow.

This game should be quite a bit of fun to watch, but I think when all is said and done that UCLA will pull out a close win. That being said, I think the Aggies will put on a great show in front of a full national audience on CBS.

Aggie Hoops Report Prediction:
Texas Aggies 65

(The line is TAMU +7.5 and the total is 129)

Ticket Availability
We will not be able to attend the game on Saturday the 16th vs. Jacksonville - 8:00. If you are interested in buying our tickets ($24 each - 106 / A / 14-15) please let me know.


As you were.


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