Michigan vs UCLA Preview with Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times

Michigan vs UCLA Preview with Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times


What do you think about the UCLA Point Guards?


Jaylen Hands and Aaron Holiday have thrived since Hands moved into a sixth man role after suffering a foot injury against Wisconsin. They still are on the court together at times but keeping them separated more than the team did earlier in the season has resulted in better ball movement and a sense of direction for the offense. Hands is coming off a career-high 23-point game against Detroit Mercy. Holiday brings aggressiveness that the team needs but can be out of control at times.


Will we see more Man to Man or Zone Defense with UCLA against Michigan?


Probably more man to man because it’s the defense that coach Steve Alford prefers, but he won’t be afraid to switch to zone because of foul trouble or matchup problems. You’ll probably see a little bit of both but mostly man.


How would you rate the performance of Steve Alford vs UCLA?


Depends on whom you ask. Three Sweet 16s in four years is fairly good consistency, but I think Bruins fans would want a Final Four run mixed in. The hiring of Chip Kelly as football coach undoubtedly raises the bar for what Alford needs to do to keep his job. Alford has never made it past the Sweet 16 in 22 years at the Division I level. That’s not an elite coach in my mind.


Do you think UCLA can get to the title with Steve Alford?


It’s looking doubtful. I think their best shot was last year with the generational talent in Lonzo Ball and the nice blend of young players and veterans. This year, barring drastic improvement, the Bruins look to be a first or second round team in the NCAA tournament. They are getting better but will need to win games like the one on the road against Michigan to convince me that they can do anything in March.

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