- The #22 UCLA Bruins travel to the Viejas Arena at the Aztec Bowl in San Diego to take on the San Diego State Aztecs Wednesday Night at 10:30 pm
- Potential Pac-12 Player of the Year, Chris Smith, leads UCLA after withdrawing from the NBA Draft in August
- See the odds, spread, analysis and our best bet below
The UCLA Bruins and San Diego State Aztecs will begin their season Wednesday Night in the second game of a four-team tournament at San Diego State featuring UCLA, San Diego State, UC Irvine and Pepperdine.
The last time these two teams met was in 2012 at the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, with San Diego State winning 78-69.
It will mark the first time UCLA has played on the Aztecs home court since 1991, when the Bruins defeated the Aztecs 84-64. Mick Cronin’s team is favored by 2.5 points in this game.
#22 UCLA vs San Diego State Odds
|UCLA Bruins||-3.5 (-113)||-175||O 134 (-108)|
|San Diego State Aztecs||+3.5 (-109)||+143||U 134 (-113)|
Odds taken from DraftKings November 24th
UCLA Hype Train is Rolling
UCLA is being picked by many to win the Pac-12 this season and for good reason. They return their top five scorers from last season and are led by 6’9″ senior swingman Chris Smith, who may be one of the best players in the Pac-12 and should contend for the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
One area he has said to have improved was his three point shooting, which has improved in each year of his college career. He shot 35% last season which isn’t bad, but if he can get anywhere near the 40% range, this team will be very dangerous.
Senior Chris Smith & sophomore Tyger Campbell have been named to the Pac-12 men's basketball preseason all-league teams.
— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) November 12, 2020
UCLA is not a one trick pony by any means. Tyger Campbell returns at point guard a full offseason removed from an ACL tear, along with Jaime Jaquez and Jalen Hill. I expect Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang to start at the two guard spot, and he should bolster the team’s shooting. The Bruins could be a wagon this season.
San Diego State Likely Taking a Step Back
Last season, San Diego State (30-2) was positioned for a deep run in the 2020 NCAA Tournament. This season, they will need to replace Malachi Flynn, who was taken in the first round of the NBA Draft by Toronto last week.
He wasn’t the only starter to leave as top rebounder Yanni Wetzell, and fifth leading scorer, KJ Feagin, both transferred. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as they do have Mountain West Preseason First-Teamer Matt Mitchell coming back.
Mountain West Preseason First-Team, per release:
Isaiah Stevens, Colorado State
Bryce Hamilton, UNLV
Derrick Alston Jr., Boise State
Matt Mitchell, San Diego State
Neemias Queta, Utah State
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 11, 2020
In 2020, the Aztecs got 36.6% of their points last season from beyond the arc. Mitchell along with returning senior, Jordan Schakel, were their leading three point shooters. If they can get solid contributions from one of the new starters, they will be fine offensively.
With that said, it’s hard to expect them to do so right out of the gate given what their rotation has lost since last season.
Best Bet for Wednesday Night
By Wednesday afternoon, this line will likely go above four barring any late breaking COVID-19 news.
The hype around UCLA is warranted and I think we will see a better defensive unit than we did last year. They ended up as the 112th ranked unit in the nation according to KenPom and that was still enough the finish the season 9-2 in Pac-12 play.
This year in their preseason ratings, KenPom has them as the 44th best unit in defensive efficiency. Cronin’s teams have always excelled defensively and that should remain true this year. In their second year under Cronin, UCLA should take another giant step forward starting with a beatdown of San Diego State.
Pick: -3.5 (-113)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.