#2 Kentucky vs. #3 UCLA
Storyline: The Rematch
On December 3rd of 2016, Kentucky and UCLA were both undefeated and UCLA came to Lexington and outscored the Wildcats 95-92. These teams were both very young and so was the season in early December. The rematch is worth so much more than the first meeting between these teams and Kentucky is looking for revenge.
Malik Monk did not have the ideal first weekend scoring 12 and 14 points in the first two games. Those numbers are well below his season average of 20 points per game. Kentucky is going to need him to return to form and knock down some big shots for the Wildcats to keep up with the high scoring Bruins.
Lonzo Ball keeps distributing and the Bruins keep scoring as the unstoppable machine can put up 60 points in a half once they get going. The matchup that gives UCLA the biggest advantage is Thomas Welsh vs. Bam Adebayo. I understand that Bam is big and strong and dunks with force but I do not think he is that good. He has limited post moves and relies and strength alone to get to the rim. Players that rely purely on strength are nothing that junior Thomas Welsh hasn’t seen before. Welsh can defend Bam but just staying behind him in the post and forcing Bam to shoot over him. On offense, Welsh is one of the best bigs shooting in the midrange that I have ever seen in college. He only needs a little daylight to get it off but he is automatic inside the arc. Bam will not be able to slow down Welsh and I believe he will have a huge game for the Bruins.
Prediction: UCLA 87, Kentucky 81