#730 University of California, Los Angeles Bruinsvs.#729 California State University, Northridge Matadors
Written by Chris Kubala
NCAAB: Sunday, November 13, 2016, Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, California, 9 pm ET
Spread: UCLA -19, Over/Under: 165.5
It’s a matchup between a pair of schools from the Golden State on the hardwood. The CS Northridge Matadors are on the road as they take on the #16 UCLA Bruins Sunday night. CS Northridge rolled over Division III Pomona Pitzer 96-72 in their season opener Friday night. UCLA cruised past Pacific 119-80 in their season opener at home Friday. The Bruins won four straight meetings and eight of the nine all-time matchups. That includes a 77-45 romp on November 29, 2015 in the most recent meeting between the schools.
CS Northridge picked up a win in their opener but there is a major difference between a Division III school and a ranked Power Five school in UCLA. The Matadors rolled to a 52-28 halftime advantage and just kept Pomona Pitzer at bay in the second half as they got the win. CS Northridge shot a sizzling 53.1 percent from the field while holding Pomona Pitzer to 31.8 percent in the game. The Matadors also controlled the glass by a 53-40 margin to overcome turning the ball over 14 times. It will take a much cleaner performance, especially on the defensive glass, for the Matadors to have a shot here.
Darin Johnson led four Matadors in double figures with 20 points plus seven rebounds in the victory. Kendall Smith scored 17 points while handing out seven assists while Aaron Parks posted 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Tavrion Dawson came off the bench to contribute 15 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes of action. CS Northridge drained 8 of 17 from three point range in the game but struggled at the free throw line. The Matadors cashed in just 20 of their 32 attempts at the stripe. A mediocre team can’t afford to leave that many points on the floor, especially against a team like UCLA.
UCLA had little problem dispatching Pacific in their season opener Friday night. Coach Steve Alford has to be happy with his team’s performance, especially on the offensive end. The Bruins lit up the Tigers by shooting 60.9 percent from the field in the contest. UCLA won the battle of the boards by a 43-33 margin. The Bruins forced 14 Pacific turnovers in the game while committing 12 of their own. UCLA set a school record for three pointers in a game as they buried 18 of them on 30 attempts. Any time you’re shooting 60 percent from beyond the arc is a promising day indeed.
Bryce Alford led the way for UCLA as he piled up 30 points and knocked down six of UCLA’s barrage of triples. TJ Leaf was a force in the block with 22 points and 15 rebounds while Lonzo Ball narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists. Aaron Holiday poured in 18 points in 24 minutes off the bench while Isaac Hamilton had 17 points plus eight assists in the win. UCLA does need to play a bit more structured as they finished with 27 fouls: Holiday and Gyorgy Goloman fouled out. The Bruins were fortunate that Pacific was just 14 of 28 at the line while UCLA hit 17 of 24 freebies.
To be honest, I’m surprised this line isn’t higher than where it is. CS Northridge wasn’t a great team last year in a mediocre conference. They won big in their opener but beating a Division III school really isn’t something to put on your resume when it comes time for postseason bids. UCLA beat a mediocre Pacific team but at least it was a Division I foe. The Bruins have too much talent and too much depth for the Matadors to handle. This one should be an easy romp for UCLA as they go to 2-0.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.