Game-by-Game UCLA Men’s Basketball Predictions 2022-2023
The Bruins are trying to win their first regular season Pac-12 title since 2013 while also pursing their 12th national championship.
The Bruins are back and looking to make some noise yet again.
No. 8 UCLA men’s basketball will start its season against Sacramento State on Monday, tipping off coach Mick Cronin’s fourth campaign in Westwood. The Bruins have the highest winning percentage in Pac-12 play ever since Cronin arrived, and they’ve gone to the Final Four and Sweet 16 in his two NCAA tournament appearances.
While UCLA’s nonconference slate doesn’t have the Gonzaga, Villanova and North Carolina-level headliners of last year, Kentucky, Maryland, Illinois and either Baylor or Virginia bring plenty of high-profile opponents into the mix.
The Bruins were the media’s preseason pick to win the Pac-12 for the third year in a row, and they boast two of the conference’s top players who are looking to finally cash in on those expectations. Guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. and point guard Tyger Campbell are the headliners on UCLA’s roster, both of whom are All-American candidates, and they are joined by veteran guards Jaylen Clark and David Singleton.
Johnny Juzang, Jules Bernard, Cody Riley, Peyton Watson, Myles Johnson and Jake Kyman all left the program in the offseason, but there are several replacements coming in to make up for their lost production. Guard Amari Bailey and center Adem Bona were both McDonald’s All-Americans coming out of high school, while point guard Dylan Andrews can supply additional ball-handling off the bench. Guard Will McClendon and big man Mac Etienne are both returning from torn ACLs their freshman years, and two new walk-ons have joined the reserves as well.
With the roster representing an interesting blend of experience and youth, here is how All Bruins thinks things will go down on the hardwood this season.
Nov. 7 vs. Sacramento State: Win
Record to Date: 1-0
Nov. 11 vs. Long Beach State: Win
Record to Date: 2-0
Nov. 14 vs. Norfolk State: Win
Record to Date: 3-0
Nov. 18 vs. Illinois: Win
Record to Date: 4-0
Nov. 20 vs. Baylor/Virginia: Loss
Record to Date: 4-1
Nov. 23 vs. Pepperdine: Win
Record to Date: 5-1
Nov. 27 vs. Bellarmine: Win
Record to Date: 6-1
Dec. 1 @ Stanford: Win
Record to Date: 7-1 (1-0 Pac-12)
Dec. 4 vs. Oregon: Win
Record to Date: 8-1 (2-0 Pac-12)
Dec. 10 vs. Denver: Win
Record to Date: 9-1
Dec. 14 @ Maryland: Win
Record to Date: 10-1
Dec. 17 vs. Kentucky: Loss
Record to Date: 10-2
Dec. 21 vs. UC Davis: Win
Record to Date: 11-2
Dec. 30 @ Washington State: Win
Record to Date: 12-2 (3-0 Pac-12)
Jan. 1 @ Washington: Win
Record to Date: 13-2 (4-0 Pac-12)
Jan. 5 vs. USC: Win
Record to Date: 14-2 (5-0 Pac-12)
Jan. 12 vs. Utah: Win
Record to Date: 15-2 (6-0 Pac-12)
Jan. 14 vs. Colorado: Win
Record to Date: 16-2 (7-0 Pac-12)
Jan. 19 @ Arizona State: Win
Record to Date: 17-2 (8-0 Pac-12)
Jan. 21 @ Arizona: Loss
Record to Date: 17-3 (8-1 Pac-12)
Jan. 26 @ USC: Loss
Record to Date: 17-4 (8-2 Pac-12)
Feb. 2 vs. Washington: Win
Record to Date: 18-4 (9-2 Pac-12)
Feb. 4 vs. Washington State: Win
Record to Date: 19-4 (10-2 Pac-12)
Feb. 9 @ Oregon State: Win
Record to Date: 20-4 (11-2 Pac-12)
Feb. 11 @ Oregon: Loss
Record to Date: 20-5 (11-3 Pac-12)
Feb. 12 vs. Stanford: Win
Record to Date: 21-5 (12-3 Pac-12)
Feb. 17 vs. California: Win
Record to Date: 22-5 (13-3 Pac-12)
Feb. 19 @ Utah: Win
Record to Date: 23-5 (14-3 Pac-12)
Feb. 24 @ Colorado: Win
Record to Date: 24-5 (15-3 Pac-12)
March 2 vs. Arizona State: Win
Record to Date: 25-5 (16-3 Pac-12)
March. 4 vs. Arizona: Win
Record to Date: 26-5 (17-3 Pac-12)
From there, the Bruins will be the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 tournament and win all three of their contests in Las Vegas to take home both conference championships.
Going 29-5 would more than likely net the Bruins a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. However, considering they will enter Selection Sunday on a nine-game winning streak with two victories over Arizona, UCLA could have enough juice to snag a No. 1 seed for the first time since 2008.
Trying to predict what happens in an environment as chaotic and wild as the NCAA tournament four months ahead of time is a fool’s game, so all we’ll say is that UCLA will have put itself in a prime position to secure banner No. 12 by the time March Madness comes around.
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