(1) Gonzaga vs (2) UCLA Game Preview

(1) Gonzaga vs (2) UCLA Game Preview. Jaime Jaquez Jr.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

The top two teams in the country of (1) Gonzaga and (2) UCLA will face off to determine the champion of the Empire Classic. (1) Gonzaga is coming to an easy matchup against Central Michigan 107-54, while (2) UCLA took care of business against Bellarmine 75-62. This game will also be a rematch from the Final Four game that Gonzaga won by a Jalen Suggs buzzer-beater to eliminate the Bruins.

What’s At Shake?

The winner of this top 2 matchup will be 100% the number one team in the country following Monday when the AP polls come out. The loser of this game will most likely slide down to number three or stay in the top two. This matchup could be a Final Four preview, including UCLA’s Johnny Juzang and Gonzaga’s Drew Timme. UCLA is looking to stay hot and get two top ten ranked wins against Gonzaga and Villanova.

Gonzaga’s only challenge this season was against a ranked team of Texas. Even though Gonzaga dominated the game against Texas, they still need their young guys to perform better. Chet Holmgren only got two points; Andrew Nembhard played all 40 minutes and shot four for nine against Texas. If Drew Timme gets in foul trouble or gets injured, Gonzaga could be in trouble Tuesday night.

Must Watch Players

Gonzaga Drew Timme: The potential National Player of the Year Drew Timme is always a must-watch player every game. Last night, Timme had 11 points in 15 minutes. This game against UCLA will be a high-scoring matchup, which will help Timme get lots of buckets Tuesday. For the season, Timme is averaging team-high 18 points. But expect that average to go up after tomorrow’s game.

UCLA Johnny Juzang: One of the reasons UCLA has a hot start to the season is because of Johnny Juzang. Johnny has been averaging 21.5 points and 4.5 rebounds so far this season. The junior has played great against top-tier competition. Last season in the Final Four, Juzang had team-high 29 points. Look for Juzang to bounce back from his five for 14 shooting performance against Gonzaga.

Projected Starting Lineup

Gonzaga Starting LineupUCLA Starting Lineup
Guard: Andrew NembhardGuard: Tyger Campbell
Guard: Rasir BoltonGuard: Jules Bernard
Guard: Julian StrawtherGuard: Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Forward: Drew TimmeGuard: Johnny Juzang
Center: Chet HolmgrenCenter: Myles Johnson

Game Prediction

I believe UCLA will get their revenge from last April. Drew Timme will have a solid game, but this game will be a learning lesson for the youth of Gonzaga. Johnny Juzang will score at least 20 points, and the UCLA guards of Tyger Campbell and Jules Bernard will make a significant impact. This matchup will be close 100% and will be high scoring, but UCLA finds better luck in Las Vegas.

UCLA 92 Gonzaga 89

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