UNC vs. UCLA Prediction, Game Preview

    UNC vs. UCLA prediction and game preview for when the Tar Heels play the Bruins in the Barclays Center.

    December 18, 2015

    The UNC Tar Heels will make the trip to Brooklyn, N.Y. to play the UCLA Bruins in the Barclays Center. Below is the UNC vs. UCLA prediction and game preview.

    UNC vs. UCLA Game Preview

    Game Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, Dec. 19
    Game Time: 1 p.m. ET
    Venue: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Network: CBS

    Why You Need To Care

    No. 11 UNC (8-2) has now dropped two games already this season that it “shouldn’t” have lost. The first one was on the road against Northern Iowa last month, 71-67. But the Tar Heels were the victims of a Javan Felix buzzer beater, as the Texas Longhorns beat UNC, 84-82.

    UNC recovered by beating Tulane, 96-72, on Wednesday.

    For the Bruins, they’ve used their role as early-season spoiler to earn a spot in the AP Top 25 rankings, sitting at No. 22 right now.

    UCLA is 8-3 but etched out wins against Kentucky at home and at Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. The Bruins’ last time out ended with an 89-80 win against Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday.

    Why UNC Will Win

    In Marcus Paige, the Tar Heels will trust. Even Yoda would tell head coach Roy Williams to let his star point guard do his thing in this one. Paige has to get his double-digit shot attempts up and make sure he diversifies his looks to attack UCLA from all angles. If he does that, he can create looks for Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II from behind the three-point line. At that point, it’s just a matter of containing Bryce Alford on defense.

    Why UCLA Will Win

    If Alford goes off for 20-plus points, the Bruins will be in prime position to take their second of four neutral-site games so far this season. UNC will rely on Paige to spearhead the attack on offense, so UCLA will have to throw different looks at him and switch up the personnel on defense regularly to split the challenge of guarding the Tar Heels guard. Getting Paige out of his rhythm might stall UNC’s offense and force someone else to make plays with the ball.

    Robert Judin:
    UNC 82, UCLA 80

    Jordan Cornette:
    UCLA 82, UNC 79

    Line: UNC -6.5


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