The Bruins have been excellent this season, carrying one of the best records in college basketball at 11-2 overall. They are currently on a six-game winning streak, holding on to a two-game lead in the PAC-12 standings.
Meanwhile, the Golden Bears have run into some trouble since opening their PAC-12 schedule and will need their best performance to stop the red-hot UCLA Bruins.
Fixture: UCLA Bruins vs. California Golden Bears - NCAA Men's Basketball
Date & Time: Thursday, January 21st, 2021, 9 PM ET
Venue: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, California
UCLA Bruins Preview
The UCLA Bruins have been at the top of their game this season, winning six straight matches and leading the PAC-12 conference.
The Bruins' most recent loss came to the No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes. They have since averaged 78.5 points per game offensively.
The UCLA Bruins had their most recent game - a highly-anticipated matchup with the No. 21 Oregon Ducks - postponed due to COVID precautions. While that matchup remains to be played, the Bruins will be hoping to continue their dominance and pad their PAC-12 lead with a win over Cal on Thursday.
Key Player - Jaime Jaquez Jr.
UCLA Bruins' sophomore guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. has shown significant improvement in his development thus far.
Jaquez Jr. started in 22 of 31 games his freshman year, averaging 8.9 points per game. Now an everyday starter, he is averaging a team-leading 13.3 points per game on 49% shooting.
Jaime Jaquez Jr has been very consistent against conference opponents, recording 10 or more points in six of UCLA's seven PAC-12 games.
If Jaquez Jr. can continue this pace, the UCLA Bruins should extend their winning streak with a victory over Cal on Thursday.
UCLA Bruins Predicted Lineup
G Tyger Campbell, G Johnny Juzang, G Jules Bernard, G Jaime Jaquez Jr., F Cody Riley
California Golden Bears Preview
The California Golden Bears earned a much-need victory in their last game against the Utah Utes. They have been struggling to create offense since star guard Matt Bradley injured his ankle at the beginning of conference play. Bradley led the team in scoring at the time of his injury, and the Golden Bears have lost four of their last six games in his absence.
The California Golden Bears sit at 10th place on the PAC-12 standings and need a huge outburst from their offense to take down the first-place UCLA Bruins.
Key Player - Ryan Betley
In the wake of Matt Bradley's injury, Ryan Betley has been the most consistent performer for the California Golden Bears' offense. This season, he is averaging 10.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
The Golden Bears need a team effort to beat the UCLA Bruins, but Betley should be leading the scoring effort on Thursday.
California Golden Bears Predicted Lineup
F Grant Anticevich, F Andre Kelly, G Makale Foreman, G Ryan Betley, G Kuany Kuany
UCLA vs. Cal Prediction
The UCLA Bruins continue to hold the top spot of the PAC-12 with one impressive win after another. They have maintained their fast-paced offensive style and have seen positive results.
The California Golden Bears have been off to a very rough start to conference play, but perhaps their latest victory will provide some momentum moving forward.
The Golden Bears need to minimize the offensive output of Jaime Jaquez Jr. and his UCLA Bruins, a tall order for any team. I predict the UCLA Bruins to defeat the Cal Golden Bears on Thursday and maintain their perfect PAC-12 record.
Where to watch UCLA vs. Cal
The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.