The Bruins will get another crack at their Pac-12 Bay Area foes, looking to extend their winning streak in the rivalry series to double digits.
WHO: UCLA vs. Cal
DATE: Thursday, Jan. 27
TIME: 6 p.m. PT
LOCATION: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Pac-12 Networks – Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst)
STREAMING: fuboTV – Get 7-day Free Trial
RADIO: AM 570, Sirius Ch. 84, XM Ch. 84, SXM App Ch. 84 – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SPREAD: UCLA -13 (-118), Cal +13 (-110)*
MONEY LINE: UCLA (-1613), Cal (+700)*
OVER/UNDER: O 128.5 (-110), U 128.5 (-118)*
UCLA is the No. 7 team in the country according to both the AP Poll and No. 8 according to the USA Today Coaches Poll. Cal has not appeared in either poll this season.
The latest KenPom ratings have the Bruins at No. 13 and the Golden Bears at No. 119, while the NET Rankings slot UCLA in at No. 13 and Cal at No. 130.
UCLA has gotten off to a 14-2 start to this season, losing to then-No. 1 Gonzaga after opening the season 5-0, then recovering with a road win over UNLV, a home win against Colorado and a road win over Marquette before a 26-day COVID-19 hiatus. The Bruins returned to action with a 96-78 win over Long Beach State and home, then went up to Cal and beat the Golden Bears 60-52.
The return to play, pursuit of a conference title and journey to a No. 1 seed hit a bump in the road on Jan. 13, though, as UCLA lost to Oregon at home in overtime 84-81, but it got back on track with an 81-65 win over Oregon State on Jan. 15. The next close call came in the form of a 63-58 win over Utah, followed by a tight 71-65 victory over Colorado.
UCLA reached its peak Tuesday night, though, beating No. 3 Arizona 75-59.
The Bruins are averaging 78.6 points per game and allowing 65.7. Just looking at conference play, UCLA boasts the second-best scoring defense in the Pac-12 with the most steals and blocks, but they do not rank in the top-three in any of the core offensive stats.
Guard Johnny Juzang is UCLA's top scorer so far this season with 18.1 points per game, while guard Jules Bernard, guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. and guard Tyger Campbell are averaging 13.1, 12.7 and 11.4 a night, respectively. Campbell has the most assists per game with 4.2, Jaquez has the most rebounds per game with 5.6 and center Myles Johnson boasts a team-best 66.0% field goal percentage.
Season-opening losses to UC San Diego and UNLV set Cal back early, and after recovering to beat San Diego and Southern Utah, they ran into Florida and Seton Hall and lost both of those games as well. The Golden Bears bounced back to win seven of their next eight contests, only to lose to USC and UCLA earlier in the month to kickstart a five-game skid to bring Cal to 9-10.
The Golden Bears are averaging 64.9 points per game and allowing 64.5. Cal boasts ranks in the bottom half of the Pac-12 in every major offensive stat, but they do force the most turnovers in the conference while holding their opponents to the second-worst 3-point percentage.
Cal's trio of seniors – Jordan Shepherd, Andre Kelly and Grant Anticevich – are all averaging double figures, but no other Golden Bear is putting up more than 6.1 points per game. Those three combine for 39.7 points per game, although Kelly is the only one of the bunch shooting above 41.0% from the field, and he scored 22 points the last time he faced down the Bruins. Shepherd got to 10 points that night, albeit on 28.6% shooting from the field, and his 31.8% clip from deep on the season is the worst in their starting lineup.
Cronin is now in his 19th season as a head coach, and he has an all-time record of 419-195 with 12 NCAA tournament appearances across stints at Murray State, Cincinnati and UCLA. Mark Fox is now in his 17th season as a head coach on the opposite bench, and he has an all-time record of 318-224 with five NCAA tournament appearances across stints at Nevada, Georgia and Cal.
UCLA is 121-44 all-time against Cal, with the Bruins winning nine in a row overall and eight in a row at Pauley Pavilion.
*Odds via SI Sportsbook