UCLA Bruins (17-8)
- Latest BTD Pac-12 Power Rankings: 2nd Overall (17-8)
- Head Coach: Steve Alford (5th Season)
- Top Performer: Aaron Holiday (19.1 PPG, 5.5 APG)
- Points For: 82.7 PPG (28th)
- Points Against: 76.2 PPG (277th)
- Last Game/Streak: 88-79 Loss at Arizona State (1L)
With six games left in the regular season, Oregon State’s 13-11 overall record is very much in danger.
The Beavers will start their end-of-season slate by traveling to the City of Angels, where they’ll square off first with UCLA on Thursday night and then USC on Saturday. Yet if only, that was the worst of it for Oregon State. Meetings with Arizona and Arizona State will also be in the mix, as will a last-chance road trip to Washington to square off with the Huskies and the Cougars.
Talk about some tough sledding still left ahead for a team who seems just so vastly improved from a season ago.
On Thursday night, their new reality will begin against UCLA, in the always inviting confines of Pauley Pavilion, where this year’s edition of the Bruins have more than found their way. UCLA is one of the country’s elite offensive squads, who on most nights simply try to outscore (not outplay) opponents. This is the type of trait that the Beavers need to see as a weakness for UCLA and try to exploit from the opening tip.
While the player match-ups in this one will be interesting to monitor, maybe the most intriguing story-line will become the tempo of this contest, where the Beavers may try and suck the life out of the game. If Oregon State can keep this contest in the 60-70 point range, the Beavers have a puncher’s chance. If not, head coach Wayne Tinkle and company may be chasing the Bruins up-and-down the floor all-night.
Players To Watch
Aaron Holiday (JR - Guard): Point guard. Leading scorer. Straw that stirs it all for UCLA. Aaron Holiday has been the lone point of consistency for Steve Alford this season, as a core of freshman and hit-or-miss talents fill the roster. The Beavers will need their perimeter defenders to have a strong showing against a talented piece like Holiday.
Kris Wilkes (FR - Forward): Probably the biggest enigma for the Bruins, when freshman forward Kris Wilkes gets himself going in a game, his ability to play in the full-court and display his fierce athleticism never goes unnoticed. However, for fans of UCLA, Wilkes likely still has too many growing pain moments for him to beloved quite. Expect Wilkes’ effort on the defense end of the floor to be the key for his overall play in this one.
Thomas Welsh (SR - Forward): A veteran, double-double machine who with Wilkes, could cause some issues for Oregon State up-front, it’ll be interesting to see just how Welsh squares off against the daunted Tres Tinkle-Drew Eubanks combination. Welsh is more renowned for his offensive ability in general but his all-around game is slowly coming together this season.
- Date: Thursday, February 15th
- Time: 8:00 PM PT
- Location: Pauley Pavilion (Los Angeles, CA)
- Coverage: Fox Sports 1