The Long Beach State 49ers stay close to home on Monday evening, as they travel to Pauley Pavilion for a meeting against the UCLA Bruins. UCLA enters ranked 22nd in the nation and hopes to restore what was once a prideful program in the 2020-21 campaign. They made it to the National Championship in 2006. That was a loss against the Joakim Noah led Florida Gators. A lot of people expected UCLA to get straight back on track and return to the National Championship again soon.
That hasn’t been the case, nor have the Bruins been close to replicating that season. UCLA hasn’t been to a final four in over ten years, 2008. The Bruins were a dangerous team with Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, and getting to the final four is an accomplishment, but they had loftier goals that weren’t supposed to end with a final four appearance. The Pac-12 is not the strongest conference in the country.
Hence, the 2020-21 season provides a nice opportunity for UCLA to win a Pac-12 Championship. UCLA are coming off a 19-12 season to finish second behind the Oregon Ducks. Oregon was the only ranked team in the Pac-12. The Ducks were a solid unit, having posted a record of 24-7 and a ticket to the tournament was going to be inevitable.
Covid made sure that Oregon and no one else was going to be dancing in 2020, though. Oregon is going to have some company in the Pac-12 this season. Even Stanford might be a bit of a dark horse with Ziare Williams on their roster. Williams is likely to develop into the best player in the conference, so sleeping on the Cardinal isn’t a good idea.
UCLA have already played two games this season, with a split against San Diego State and Pepperdine. The 73-58 loss against the Aztecs was not encouraging on both sides of the ball. In their next outing, they survived Pepperdine, 107-98, in overtime to get to 1-1 and avoid a winless start through two games. The offense got going in that matchup, though the defense was a liability once again for UCLA. Long Beach State will make their 2020-21 debut on Monday.
The 49ers are looking for a new start this season following a disaster a year ago. They finished with a miserable record of 11-21 and 6-10 in the Big West. Long Beach State regressed from the previous season after a 15-19 season in 2018-19. Head below for our free Long Beach State vs. UCLA pick for November 30, 2020.
Long Beach State 49ers vs. UCLA Bruins NCAAM Betting Odds:
Long Beach State vs. UCLA Prediction:
The UCLA offense responded with 107 points after struggling to get into a groove on opening night. They needed two overtimes to do it, but even in regulation, UCLA looked much better. Sloppy offenses can happen early in the season when a team hasn’t played together for months. Chris Smith and Tyger Campbell both had big games for the Bruins against Pepperdine. Smith led UCLA with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Campbell was a nice contributor as well.
He added 22 points and 6 boards in the winning effort for UCLA. They should be able to score at ease against the 49ers on Monday evening. Long Beach State were hammered on the defensive end of the floor a season ago. Conceding over 80 points a game wasn’t too unfamiliar for the 49ers’ offense. When the season concluded in 2019-20, Long Beach State allowed 75.1 points per game.
Out of 353 teams, the 49ers were 308th in the nation. In other words, they had one of the worst defenses. It’s unlikely that the 49ers are going to show much improvement in that regard, especially against a UCLA team that can run up the score quickly. After getting on track versus Pepperdine, expect the Bruins’ offense to attack early and often. Don’t look for Long Beach State to have an answer for them on Monday night.
Long Beach State were respectable offensively last season. They scored just over 67 points per game, though it wasn’t enough to make up for their anemic defense. The Bruins’ defense has been slightly concerning so far. Through two games, they’ve allowed 143 points in regulation versus two unranked teams. Last season, UCLA conceded 67.1 points per game. This was against some rather inconsistent Pac-12 offenses. The total looks to be four or five points too short here, so a play on the OVER is attractive.