UCLA is set to take on the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Thursday night in Pauley Pavilion. Sadly, UCLA will play Arizona just once, a real travesty considering the two have a rather strong basketball rivalry.
Although the Bruins have had a few chances to beat solid teams from major conferences in their out-of-conference slate, Arizona is perhaps the best team the Bruins will face so far.
With that, here are three numbers about Arizona you need to keep in mind as you watch the Bruins and Wildcats duke it out on ESPN.
The number of rebounds per game that the 2014 Wildcats earn. Of course, Arizona’s been a good rebounding team for a couple of years now, dating back to their mildly successful 2012-13 campaign. While rebounding is a major issue for UCLA, it appears the Bruins are content with losing the battle on the boards, especially against Zona. The Bruins went 3-0 for Arizona in 2013, and each time, the Wildcats earned more boards.
The number of threes per game that Arizona takes. This is one of the lowest marks in college basketball, and their 208 three-point attempts ranks 282nd in the nation. There’s a reason for this: With all of Arizona’s size, they’re far happier when pounding the ball inside the paint. Three of Arizona’s top four scorers rarely take shots from downtown and as a result, those three all shoot well above 50 percent from the floor. UCLA’s defense is rather inconsistent both inside and out, but the Bruins’ interior defense is sorely lacking any enforcers, meaning the Wildcats may have an entry point on Thursday.
The number of points Arizona allows per 100 possessions. This ranks as the fourth-best mark in the country, making it the toughest defense UCLA has seen all season. Of course, it isn’t as if UCLA’s offense is inept – the Bruins earn 120.7 points per 100 possessions. However, Arizona has played an offense this good – and won, holding Duke to 66 points, nearly 20 points below their season average.