Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#859 UCLA vs.
#860 UNLV
Saturday, November 27, 2021 at 10:30pm EST
Written by Jordy

The UCLA Bruins aim to pick up the pieces from their disappointing loss to Gonzaga and handle their business against the UNLV Rebels on Saturday. What was initially dubbed as an iconic showdown between the top-two ranked teams in the country turned into a one-sided drubbing for the Bruins, who were soundly defeated by the Zags in an 83-63 loss. UNLV, on the other hand, beat up on the Whittier Poets in a game that broke a two-game losing streak to Wichita State and Michigan.

UCLA gets crushed in heavyweight bout with the Zags

The high-flying offense for the Bruins got grounded by Gonzaga.

That game was their opportunity to get even for what happened in the Final Four earlier in the year, but UCLA couldn’t buy a bucket. They shot 34.8 percent from the floor and 16.7 percent from 3-pointer. It looked nothing like the team we were accustomed to seeing right out of the gates.

UNLV isn’t bad defensively, but they’re also unproven.

Opposing teams are averaging 45.1 percent shooting against them and 70.3 points per game this season. But man, this UCLA team can turn into a fireball when their hot. Johnny Juzang is still one of the best offensive playmakers in the country, and he’s leading a group that’s ranked ninth in Kenpom’s offensive efficiency rankings

I also wouldn’t be so quick to write the Bruins off defensively, either. How many other teams out there have the Zags beaten and battered this season?

Defense a big concern for UNLV

The Rebels can’t score with the Bruins.

We might as well go ahead and get that pipe dream out of the way before moving on to the actual way they can win. For starters, they need to pray to the basketball gods that the Bruins are still shook up from their loss to Gonzaga.

It just comes down to being scrappy on defense after that point. They have to fight for loose balls and every rebound, along with contesting every shot.

Only two players for the Rebels are averaging in double scoring figures with Bryce Hamilton sitting at 15.8 points, while Donovan Williams is averaging 11 points. That isn’t nearly enough to go blow-for-blow with Johnny Juzang and company.

With Cody Riley sidelined for the Bruins, this is a game where forward Royce Hamm Jr. really needs to step up and be a serious playmaker for the Rebels. He’s showing himself as a legitimate rim protector with elite janitor clean-up skills on the glass.

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We got to see the Bruins at their worst against Gonzaga earlier in the week, but they’ll close things out with us seeing them at their best on the road against the Rebels. They didn’t just lose to the Zags.

They got dismantled.

So you can rest assured Johnny Juzang and the crew will be looking to make a statement on Saturday, and UNLV will be standing there waiting like a deer in the headlights. The Rebels only have two players averaging in double scoring figures. So it’s clear they don’t have the offensive firepower to stand toe-to-toe from a scoring perspective.

This game is going to be dependent on the Rebels having a dominant defensive effort, but I can’t trust them after seeing them fall flat in back-to-back losses to Michigan and Wichita State. This UCLA team is a different monster entirely.

There’s no shame in losing to the No. 1-ranked team in the country, but the Bruins will turn it around and get their act together in this one. I’m laying the points.

Prediction: UCLA Bruins (-11)

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UCLA ran into a brick wall against Gonzaga on Tuesday. They couldn’t get anything going offensively against arguably the most talented team in the country. But it’ll be back to business in Saturday’s matchup with UNLV. This will be the best offensive team the Rebels have faced up until this point. Granted, they did run into Michigan and gave up 74 points in a loss. But this UCLA team is averaging 86.2 points per game, and even that number is seriously skewed from them being held to 63 points by Gonzaga. Give me the over in this one.

Prediction: Over (138.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.