Here is a midweek preview of some of the best games of the week in College Basketball. This includes the two best teams in the sport with Gonzaga and UCLA, along with, a couple of Battle 4 Atlantis matchups in Connecticut vs Auburn and Loyola Chicago vs Michigan State.
(1) Gonzaga vs (2) UCLA
For UCLA, it begins with having the best wing duo in the country with Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez Jr.’s offensive skill sets. Furthermore, the ability for Tyger Campbell to control the pace and game for UCLA will be key in his matchup against Andrew Nembhard. Now, the interior defense for UCLA will be vital needing Myles Johnson to be great against Drew Timme. Additionally, how will UCLA guard Chet Holmgren is a major question mark in their ability to get consistent stops. The depth of UCLA will play a major role with Peyton Watson and David Singleton being productive options off the bench. The size of Jaquez and Juzang against the Gonzaga perimeter will be an advantage for UCLA.
If Gonzaga is going to defeat UCLA it will because of the ability to dominate them with their frontcourt. First off, Drew Timme will need to be dominant in this matchup because of their offensive skill set and ability to set the tone for Gonzaga. Furthermore, Julian Strawther will be a major key in this game because of his size to guard Jamie Jaquez Jr. or Johnny Juzang. Continued, Rasir Bolton will need to emerge for Gonzaga with being an offensive focal point for their perimeter. The depth of Gonzaga still needs to develop to the level that UCLA will be at.
UCLA will win this game against Gonzaga because of the offensive firepower of Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Matchup to Watch: Julian Strawther vs Jamie Jaquez Jr.
Prediction: UCLA 82 Gonzaga 77
Connecticut vs Auburn
Connecticut has a major opportunity to prove its potential in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Beginning with a matchup against Auburn their ability to keep up with the pace of Auburn will be vital. Furthermore, the physicality of the frontcourt will be important for Connecticut with Adam Sanogo and Isaiah Whaley. Continued, the emergence of Andre Jackson on the wing adds a dynamic player for Connecticut. The play of Tyrese Martin is important becoming the go-to perimeter option for Connecticut. Now, the depth of Connecticut could be key with having the likes of Tyler Polley and Jalen Gaffney off the bench.
The development of the Auburn perimeter is going to be vital for them to reach their potential. Therefore, Zep Casper and Wendell Green need to be able to be consistent on offense. Along with, having the shooting ability of Devan Cambridge start to showcase. The frontcourt of Auburn will have the challenge to handle the physicality of UConn. Now, the skill level of Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith must be on display for Auburn in this game. The depth of Auburn is solid as well with having Jaylin Williams and K.D. Johnson.
Matchup to Watch: Walker Kessler vs Adam Sanogo
Prediction: Connecticut 73 Auburn 66
Loyola-Chicago vs Michigan State
The defensive identity of Loyola-Chicago has been a foundation for their success and they have taken the next step offensively as well. First off, Lucas Williamson has shown growth offensively and Braden Norris adds stability. Next, the emergence of Ryan Schwieger has added more offense for Loyola-Chicago in the frontcourt. Additionally, Marquise Kennedy and Aher Uguak are stables for this team’s success defensively and will continue to do so.
The Battle 4 Atlantis is a great opportunity for Michigan State to prove itself as a potential threat in the Big Ten. First off, the backcourt is the tone-setter for this team with the pace of Tyson Walker and the shot-making of Max Christie. Continued, Gabe Brown has been more consistent offensively adding a true two-way player for Michigan State. Now, the foundation of Michigan State is in the frontcourt needing Marcus Bingham to continue to play well. If Michigan State is going to win this game it will be because of the ability to limit mistakes and turnovers offensively. The ability to have AJ Hoggard off the bench is imperative for Michigan State.
Michigan State will come away with a very solid win over an NCAA tournament-caliber Loyola Chicago team.
Matchup to Watch: Gabe Brown vs Lucas Williamson
Prediction: Michigan State 70 Loyola-Chicago 64
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