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Just The Sports: Bad News For UCLA

Just The Sports

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bad News For UCLA

Similarities abound between last year's contest pitting the University of Florida Gators against the University of California at Los Angeles Bruins and this year's game featuring the same combatants and not simply because the cast of players for both teams is largely identical. The two teams will be facing each other at similar points in their season efficiency-wise, both offensively and defensively, which means that UCLA will be fighting another uphill battle to defeat the Gators.

Last season when the two teams met, the Gators held the advantage when it came to offensive efficiency. The two teams were virtual mirror images of each other on the defensive side of the ball, with Florida holding their opponents to 93.7 points per 100 possessions and UCLA only allowing their foes to score 93.6 points per 100 possessions. However, UCLA was no match for Florida on offense. Florida had scored 116.3 points per 100 possessions, 7.5 more points per 100 possessions than the Bruins' 108.8 points per 100 possessions. That advantage held out for the Gators as they won the national championship by 16 points.

This season, unfortunately for the Bruins, it is more of the same. Again, the two teams are each other's equals defensively, with Florida allowing 93.9 points per 100 possessions and UCLA giving up 93.7 points per 100 possessions. As you can see, each team has maintained a level of defensive consistency over the past two seasons. Offensively, each has improved from last season to this season, but the Gators have done so at a higher level than the Bruins. Instead of only scoring 116.3 points per 100 possessions, they are now scoring 119.6 points per 100 possessions; the Bruins have increased from 108.8 points per 100 possessions to 110.7 points per 100 possessions, impressive but most likely not enough. Given the advantage the Gators hold, if each team plays the way they have all season, the Gators should emerge from the game victorious.

Of course, games are not played on paper so the Bruins may very well walk away with the win and find themselves in the national championship game for the second year in a row. What they must bank on is a superb game from themselves and a lackluster performance from Florida. Florida, on the other hand, can handle the Bruins' best punch and still send them back to Los Angeles two days earlier than the Bruins would like.



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