Date & Time: Saturday, December 19, 2020, 4:15PM ET
Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH
The No. 20 Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the unranked UCLA Bruins on Saturday in a non-conference, neutral-site matchup. Both the Buckeyes and Bruins will enter Saturday's game with a 5-1 record, with the Buckeyes suffering their first loss Wednesday to the Purdue Boilermakers. This loss could drop the Buckeyes out of the top 25 rankings, but a win against this strong Bruins team could make a case for them to stay.
UCLA Bruins Preview
After losing their first game of this 2020-21 season, the UCLA Bruins have been excellent. Currently on a five-game win streak, the Bruins will hope to carry momentum through a deflated Ohio State team. If the Bruins can come out on top Saturday, they will be in consideration for a top 25 ranking.
In their last game, the UCLA Bruins outlasted the Marquette Golden Eagles in a shootout that ended 69-60 UCLA. This was the first time the Bruins' offense scored fewer than 70 points, and they will be looking to keep dominating the offensive zone against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Key Player - Chris Smith
Chris Smith has been a force on both ends of the court for the UCLA Bruins this year. Smith has shown the ability to shoot from range and drive to the rim with great success, and he should be a standout on Saturday against Ohio State.
Smith is averaging just over 13 points and 7 rebounds per game for the Bruins, and he has shot a remarkable 47 percent from three point land. Look for Smith to be a big contributor against the Buckeyes on Saturday.
UCLA Bruins Predicted Lineup
Cody Riley, Jaime Jaquez Jr, Johnny Juzang, Tyger Campbell, Chris Smith
Ohio State Buckeyes Preview
The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming off a tough loss, but will need to bounce back quickly if they want to slow down this surging UCLA Bruins team. Ohio State started the season strong, winning each of their first five games by a considerable margin.
The Buckeyes ran into their first road bump when they traveled to Purdue where they came up short 67-60. This was the first conference game for either team, thus dropping the Buckeyes to the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Expect to see a determined Ohio State team on Saturday and a strong offensive showing against the Bruins.
Key Player - E.J. Liddell
E.J. Liddell has been a monster for the Ohio State Buckeyes this season. Despite only playing in four of the Buckeyes' first six games, Liddell has produced on offense and defense minute-after-minute. Liddell is expected to return after a non-COVID related illness sidelined him for the past two games.
Listed at 6 feet, 7 inches and 240 pounds, E.J. Liddell is no small task for any defender that steps on the court. Liddell has averaged 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds through his first four games with the Buckeyes this season. His performance could be the difference maker against this hungry UCLA Bruins squad.
Ohio State Buckeyes Predicted Lineup
Justice Sueing, Zed Key, Duane Washington Jr, Musa Jallow, E.J. Liddell
UCLA vs. Ohio State Prediction
This should be an absolute battle that goes down to the final seconds. The UCLA Bruins have proven to be a legitimate team this season, and with the Ohio State Buckeyes coming off of their first loss, I could easily see either of these teams winning. I predict a very fun, very close game; 78-74 Ohio State.
How to watch UCLA vs. Ohio State
The game will be broadcast live on CBS.Published 18 Dec 2020, 16:55 IST