San Jose State at UCLA: Game Preview, TV, Radio, Live Stream, Odds, More
Spartans looking to regain form against formidable foes
Prioleau has tinkered with his lineups, but can he find the right formula?
WHO: San Jose State (3-4, 0-0 MWC) at ULCA (5-3, 0-0 Pac-12)
WHEN: Sunday, December 1 — 5:00 P.M. PT / 6:00 P.M. MT
WHERE: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
ALL-TIME RECORD: UCLA leads the series, 8-1
ODDS: UCLA -17, per KenPom
PREVIEW: San Jose State will be looking for an upset victory on Sunday night as they travel down to Pauley Pavilion to do battle with UCLA.
The Spartans come into the game on the heels of two disappointing losses to Portland State and Oregon State. Things were looking up for Jean Prioleau’s team after beating Hofstra in the opener and snagging another early win over a Grambling State squad that could win the SWAC.
But the other shoe dropped hard, with SJSU losing their last two games by a combined 50 points.
This drop in production comes at an unideal time for a team that plays its next four games against UCLA, Utah State, San Diego State, and Stanford. In fact, the Bruins might be the easiest opponent of the Spartans’ upcoming slate.
The Bruins also find themselves in the midst of a slide. After starting the year at 4-0, UCLA has lost three of its last four. They picked up a cheap win over Chaminade, the host of the Maui Invitational, but otherwise dropped games against Hofstra, BYU, and Michigan State.
Mick Cronin’s side saw early success going inside to big man Jalen Hill, but the redshirt sophomore has gone quiet in the past two games. Hill scored in single digits against both the Cougars and the Spartans after a 24-point explosion against Hofstra.
Nobody else on the Bruins has consistently stepped up when Hill has struggled.
Prince Ali, Tyger Campbell, and Cody Riley are all capable options, but none of them appear to playing at a level to truly take over a game as the primary scorer. UCLA was able to skate through their first four games, but their lack of scoring punch outside of hill has exposed a weakness that other teams can and should exploit.
That means that the San Jose State frontcourt will have their work cut out for them on Sunday evening.
Prioleau ran out a new starting lineup for the first time against the Beavers on Wednesday, starting former Wake Forest big man Samuel Japhet-Mathias. The transfer center responded by scoring a team-leading 10 points. Omari Moore also started in place Seneca Knight but had little impact in just 15 minutes on the floor.
Knight and fellow double-digit scorer Richard Washington Jr. combined to shoot just 2-for-15 off the bench. They have been the Spartans’ leading scorers over the first handful of games, but were nowhere to be found in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Shooting woes also followed Christian Anigwe, who shot 1-for-8 against Oregon State. The sophomore forward did secure 14 rebounds and block three shots, though.
But those issues are just about the shots they actually get off. Nearly a quarter of the Spartans’ possessions never make it that far, instead ending in a turnover. To put that in context, San Jose State ranks 308th in turnover rate, per KenPom.
There’s a lot that Jean Prioleau needs to get cleaned up if SJSU stands a chance at UCLA. But on the bright side for the Spartans, they’re catching the Bruins on a cold streak.
Prediction: UCLA 81, San Jose State 63
Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for multiple outlets, including Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.