UCLA is #2 in the nation. Does that mean that they’ll beat PSU by 40? Perhaps. However, if J.R. Moore is healthy by this weekend, PSU should have match ups that seem favorable for the game to stay close. Rather than match up the starters, then the bench, I’ll just go by position.
Center: Kevin Love/Lorenzo Mata VS Scott Morrison/J.R. Moore
Morrison will have the height advantage, however, the question is whether he can compete with Love’s power and whether he is mobile enough to cover his outside shots. Most likely, UCLA will outscore PSU, however, PSU might be able to compete on the boards. Morrison cannot get into foul trouble if PSU wants to have a chance.
Power Forward: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute/Alfred Aboya VS Tyrell Mara/Julius Thomas
If there is anywhere where UCLA really outclasses PSU, it is here. Any one of the three for UCLA would start at PSU. If Mara can stay out of foul trouble, it would greatly help the Vikings’ chances. Again, UCLA will outscore PSU here, so the Viks will have to make the points up somewhere else.
Small Forward: Josh Shipp/Chace Stanback VS Deonte Huff/Kyle Coston
This position is one that the Viks need to win the battle at if they expect to win. However, I think Huff will need to use his physical tools to score, because his outside range doesn’t appear to have arrived yet this year. Shipp, on the other hand, is a shooter, and Huff will need to press to try to lock him down. If Huff gets into foul trouble, Coston’s outside shot will be essential.
Shooting Guard: Russell Westbrook VS Dupree Lucas/Andre Murray
PSU should outscore the Bruins here. The Viks will need the same type of effort they got from Lucas and Murray in the exhibition with 20 points each. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but they should both do well.
Point Guard: Darren Collison VS Jeremiah Dominguez/Mickey Polis
Dominguez should get some steals, but Collison is far too strong for him to cover. Dominguez should be able to keep up, but Collison will likely force him into foul trouble.
Prediction: UCLA wins 84-61