While the NFL and college football are taking center stage in the sports world, fans can’t forget that college basketball has started up and is going strong. Fans also can’t forget that two of the most storied programs in college hoops will be going head-to-head this weekend when the UCLA Bruins take on the Kentucky Wildcats.
What makes this game so special? For starters, it’s UCLA vs. Kentucky. Plus, both squads are not only ranked in the top 10 (Kentucky is ranked No. 1 in both major polls while UCLA is ranked as high as No. 9), but both teams are also undefeated.
With that said, it’s not as if both teams have had the most challenging schedules college basketball has ever seen. In fact, Kentucky has only played one ranked team (at the time) in the Michigan State Spartans. As for UCLA, the Wildcats will be the team’s first ranked opponent of the season. Nonetheless, there will be an overload of talent when these teams take the court against one another.
For all it’s worth, the Wildcats have four players who are averaging 11 or more points per game. Meanwhile, the Bruins have six (yes, six) players who are averaging 10 or more points per contest. The winner will add a serious booster to its resume; to say the least.
Not only is Kentucky the top-ranked team in the country, but it will also get this showdown at home. UCLA fans, you have been warned.
Before the college basketball festivities get underway, make sure to check out these bold predictions for UCLA vs. Kentucky.
De’Aaron Fox Records A Triple-Double
Why not? The freshman phenom has already recorded one triple-double on the season. That’s right; De’Aaron Fox racked up 14 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds in the Wildcats’ last game against the Arizona State Sun Devils. For the season, he is averaging 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game.
Clearly, Fox has been the real deal so far in the 2016-17 college basketball season, and that will continue to be the case when Kentucky plays UCLA.
Bryce Alford Goes Off For 20-Plus Points
Yes, Bryce Alford is still in the league, if you will. The senior guard has thrived in his new role that consists of less pressure. Need proof? Alford is averaging 15.5 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting from behind the arc.
Players like T.J. Leaf and Lonzo Ball might be getting a lot of attention, but it is Alford who is going about his business and making it rain out on the court. Side note: Isaac Hamilton, a fellow senior, is leading the Bruins in scoring at 18 points per game.
Kentucky might be the best team in the sport — well, the highest-ranked team, that is — but players like Alford have been around for quite some time, meaning he is no stranger to the spotlight and big-time performances. Look for the senior to drop at least 20 points against Kentucky.
Kentucky Wins In An Absolute Thriller
As ESPN’s Jeff Goodman pointed out, “the Wildcats have won their first six games by at least 21 points.” On Monday, they continued that vicious streak by knocking off Arizona State by the score of 115-69. In case you don’t have a calculator handy, that’s a 46-point blowout.
Kentucky’s schedule being filled with a bunch of cupcakes or not, that is quite the feat, especially for a team with so many new faces in 2016-17. The Wildcats have now scored 100-plus points in back-to-back-to-back games.
The Bruins have the talent to make some noise this season, but their first true test is going to end in a close loss. Look for this top-10 showdown to be one of the most entertaining games of the season so far, which is where the bold part comes into play. After all, it’s the Wildcats who are already looking like a national championship contender.
It will be interesting to see if the Bruins have the goods to keep up with Kentucky on the road. Time will certainly tell.
[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]