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The Fearsome Threesome: Episode Two, Wooden's Legacy Upheld and a trip into Rupp

The Wizard of Westwood’s team defended his legacy and now the Bruins travel to the toughest place to play, Rupp Arena.

NCAA Basketball: San Diego at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizard of Westwood’s team defended his legacy.

The UCLA Bruins continue to march on as they start the season 8-0 with highlight victories over Nebraska and Texas A&M in the Wooden Legacy Tournament. The combination of Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford proved to be too much for everyone in the Legacy tournament and the Bruins walked away with some early season hardwear. Ball has continued to impress everyone in the nation and earned Wooden tournament MVP honors.

Each game presented a better test for the Bruins throughout the tournament. Against Nebraska, Alford lead the way by scoring 14 of his 18 points in the second half. Ike Anigbogu also returned for a short six minute stretch and scored a basket in the short amount of time. The game also contained a number of Ball high flying dunks and alley oops and gave UCLA a comfortable 81-71 victory. Texas A&M was the most complete team victory that the Bruins had all season. Four of five starters scored in double digits and Ball added ten assist to tally a double double. Isaac Hamilton led all scorers with 17 points but it was Alford again late in the game that iced it with clutch free throws to give UCLA their seventh straight victory.

But, all of this will be a mute point by this time next week. The Bruins travel to Rupp Arena to face No. 1 Kentucky in the biggest game of the season. Obviously, a lot of the talk around the Bruins has been about this game. The Fearsome Threesome will be on national TV for the first time against their best opponent of the season. There are a lot of factors that go against the Bruins in this game. This is their first true road test of the season. And it is one helluva road test. As of December 2015, John Calipari had a 96.5 win percentage at home. Calipari has one non-conference in Rupp and it was in 2012. Calipari’s record at home: 109-4. UCLA will try and topple this giant with three true freshman starters, one recovering from an injury and a coach with a track record of blowing big games.

So, what chance do the Bruins have in this game? Slim. It’s going to be a tough game and if the Bruins come out on the other side with a victory then they should be considered serious national title competitors. Why is UCLA going to win this game?

Let me explain. The Bruins Threesome will turn into a foursome soon with Anigbogu slowly returning back to full strength. Kentucky’s team is also full of five star freshman themselves who haven’t played a team as good as UCLA. Both team’s freshman will be tested and the game will be decided on who’s freshmen will get the job done for the team.

Position by position the teams are fairly even. Kentucky has a considerable coaching advantage as Calipari is one of the best coaches in the country and Steve Alford is just, well… he’s just Steve Alford. I would give the Bruins a slight edge in the the backcourt due to Ball’s play and Alford’s leadership abilities. He will be key in calming the freshman down in a tough road environment. Kentucky has the edge inside and outside shooting and obviously since the game is being played in Rupp, the Wildcats have the advantage there.

Prediction for the game: I don’t see UCLA coming out with a win here. Rupp Arena is the hardest place to play in the nation and UCLA’s youth will hurt them. The final score won’t be pretty but, in the long run this will help the Bruins out. 104-85 Wildcats.