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The Saint Mary’s Gaels will take on the UCLA Bruins in a March Madness Second Round game. UCLA was expected to have a strong regular season and did exactly that. However, the Bruins are not the surprise team in this matchup. The surprise team is the Saint Mary’s Gaels. The Gaels finished second behind Gonzaga in the standings but still went 12-3 in conference play.
The Saint Mary’s Gaels are coming off a 29-point victory against the Indiana Hoosiers. They were not mentioned that much during the season because they are not as good as Gonzaga, but they put together an excellent season.
The Gaels do not have one standout player, but they have four players (Matthias Tass, Tommy Kuhse, Logan Johnson, and Alex Ducas) scoring ten or more points a game. Matthias Tass is the leading scorer on this Gaels squad and averages 12.2 points per game. He is an efficient shooter and solid rebounder.
The Gaels are not a high-scoring team; they scored under 70 points a game this season. However, they pride themselves on defense and have one of the best in the nation. They only give up 60.3 points per game.
The UCLA Bruins finished the season ranked 11th, but can battle with the best of them. They only lost two games against unranked opponents but went 3-3 against ranked opponents.
The Bruins are led by guard Johnny Juzang. The 6’7” junior is a top player in the Pac-12 and averages 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He shoots well from all over the floor and gets to the free-throw line a lot.
The Bruins have a worse defense than Saint Mary’s but have a significantly better offense. This game will be low-scoring, but I expect UCLA to come out on top. They made a deep March Madness run last season and have a veteran squad.
UCLA beats Saint Mary’s 69-64. UCLA covers, Under 126 points.
|Saint Mary’s Gaels||Head-to-Head||UCLA Bruins|
|Randy Bennett||Head Coach||Mick Cronin|
|26-7 (12-3, 2nd in WCC)||Standing||26-7 (15-5, 2nd in PAC-12)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Matthias Tass (12.6)||PPG||Johnny Juzang (15.8)|
|Matthias Tass (6.1)||RPG||Jaime Jacquez Jr. (5.9)|
|Tommy Kuhse (3.6)||APG||Tyger Campbell (4.2)|
|Logan Johnson (2.0)||SPG||Jaime Jacquez Jr.(1.2)|
|Matthias Tass (0.7)||BPG||Myles Johnson (1.3)|
|Matthias Tass (.555)||FG%||Myles Johnson (.620)|
|Tommy Kuhse (.471)||3P%||David Singleton (.457)|
The Gaels crushed Indiana in their last game and have a lot of momentum going into this one. However, Saint Mary’s will have a significantly harder matchup in UCLA this time around. The Gaels need to focus on rebounding and protecting the rim.
Saint Mary’s does not rebound well; they only average 33.8 rebounds per game. They need to do a better job rebounding this game. This will be difficult since they are a smaller team than UCLA.
Saint Mary’s is a dominant defensive team. However, they are playing a UCLA team that can score at the hoop or from the outside. They need to protect the rim and force UCLA to only score from the outside. If they do, UCLA will start missing shots.
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The UCLA Bruins had a scare in their last game. They were losing by one at the end of the first half, but pulled away at the end of the game and won by four. They need to avoid that against Saint Mary’s by hitting outside shots and extending ball movement.
The Bruins shoot well from deep. They hit 35.1% of their three-point attempts and get a lot of open threes. They need to continue looking for the deep shot in this game. If they get open threes, they will make them and build a lead.
UCLA passes the ball well but are facing a defensively dominant Saint Mary’s squad. They need to tire out the defense by passing the ball a lot. If they do, they will force the defense to make mistakes and create good shots for themselves.
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Logan Johnson has been a key piece to this Saint Mary’s team. He averages 11.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.0 steals per game.
Johnson is a jack of all trades. He can shoot, rebound, pass, and create turnovers. He is good at every part of the game, which is why he is the key player.
Johnson needs to play intense defense against UCLA. He will probably be guarding one of UCLA’s best players and needs to make life difficult for him.
Jamie Jacquez Jr. is having a great season for UCLA. The junior puts up 14 points a game and grabs 5.4 rebounds.
Jacquez Jr.’s numbers are solid, but he is the key player because of his play last game. He finished the game with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block.
Jacquez Jr. is feeling hot from the last game and needs to take that momentum into this game. He could be UCLA’s x-factor.
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|Saint Mary’s Gaels vs UCLA Bruins Information|
|What||Saint Mary’s Gaels vs UCLA Bruins|
|Where||Moda Center, Portland, Oregon|
|When||Saturday, March 19, 7:10 PM EST|
|How to Watch||TBS|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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