The UCLA Bruins (17-4, 6-2) get their day started early as the face the Oregon State Beavers (12-8, 4-4) in Corvallis for a brunch special. The Bruins try not to stumble on the second of two road games after narrowly beating a broken Oregon team. The Beavers look for two in a row and a chance to go above .500 after they took their last game against USC into overtime. Now, will this be a close game, or will one team quickly conceding so that they can get home and watch the Super Bowl? We here at GJB like to think their is integrity in the sport and go with the former.
Location: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR
Tip-Off: 11:30 a.m. PT/2:30 p.m. ET
Odds: UCLA -5.0
Preview: The Bruins are five point favorites over a team that is suppose to be average in the Pac-12, playing on the road after a big win against a team that was suppose to be at the top of the Pac-12. Where have we seen this scenario before? Cough, cough, Colorado/Utah road trip, cough cough.
It is hard to get a grasp on any team in the Pac-12 this season, unless they are the #1 ranked Arizona Wildcats. Oregon State, who was picked to finish in the bottom half of the Pac-12 Conference, has come up big in a few of their games against the Pac. They beat Stanford and Oregon, but then had to go to overtime against USC, who only has one conference win. It is a whacky, whacky season.
Still, for all intensive purposes, Oregon State is better than people thought they were.
The Beavers are lead by 6’4” senior guard Roberto Nelson, who has been fantastic this year. He is leading his team and the Pac-12 in scoring as the only player to average over twenty points a game with 22.2. He is getting a lot of help from 6’8” senior forward Devon Collier who is second on the team in scoring with 14.5 ppt and contributing 6.8 rebounds per game.
Nelson and Collier are dominating players, but a lot of the action down low will require the services of 6’10” junior forward Eric Moreland. Having only played eight games this season due to a suspension, Moreland has had to play catch up with the Beavers and he has done it pretty efficiently. He leads the team in rebounds and blocks with 8.5 rpg and 2.0 bpg. This could be a problem for UCLA.
It is not a stretch to say that Oregon State can beat the Bruins. The Beavers have height and presence that can turn a game their way in no time. This plays to OSU’s advantage as the Bruins have been inconsistent with the play of their big men and their rebounding game. The one thing Oregon State has to keep in mind is that the Bruins are improving in both of these areas.
David Wear, Travis Wear and Tony Parker are the Bruin big men who have had above average games recently and if one of them can get it going against Oregon State, then it should be no contest. With that being said, it should be a victory for UCLA. You could go as far as saying it should be an easy win for UCLA, but after that Utah game, that is no longer part of our UCLA basketball previews. Clearly, the Bruins have the excess of talent and should have their first road sweep of the year. If they play their game, which is continually improving, then it should be another Bruin victory.
Prediction: UCLA 70 – Oregon State 62