CU men's basketball preview: UCLA

MATCHUP: Colorado Buffaloes (10-7, 2-3 Pac-12 Conference) at UCLA Bruins (13-4, 4-1).

GAME TIME: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. MST, Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles.

BROADCAST: TV — Pac-12 Network; Radio — 850 AM.

COACHES: Colorado — Tad Boyle, 8th season (159-102, 215-168 overall); UCLA — Steve Alford, 5th season (109-49, 494-255 overall).

LEADERS: Colorado — Scoring: G McKinley Wright, Fr., 15.6 ppg; Rebounding: G/F George King, Sr., 8.2 rpg; Assists: Wright, 5.2 apg. UCLA — Scoring: G Aaron Holiday, Jr., 19.4 ppg; Rebounding: F Thomas Welsh, Sr., 10.8 rpg; Assists: Holiday, 5.3 apg.

NOTES: The Buffs are 0-8 all-time at Pauley Pavilion with an 0-4 mark since joining the Pac-12. CU has lost those four league games at UCLA by an average of 18 points...The Buffs have lost their past seven true road games...King has gone 10-for-24 on 3-pointers over the past three games. King needs six rebounds to match CU radio analyst Scott Wilke for 23rd on the Buffs' all-time rebounding list...McKinley Wright has been charged with at least four turnovers in each of the past five games, accumulating a total of 25 during that span...Earlier this week, Holiday was one of 25 players named to the midseason watch list for the Wooden Award...The Buffs return home to face Washington State (Thursday) and Washington (Saturday) next week.


LOS ANGELES — The Colorado men's basketball team still is seeking its first win this season in a true road game. Getting over that hurdle won't get any easier at Pauley Pavilion.

The Buffaloes complete their two-game swing through Los Angeles with a Pac-12 Conference showdown Saturday night against UCLA, a team that has put it all together so far in league play. The Buffs are 0-8 all-time at Pauley Pavilion.

"UCLA makes scoring look easy," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "They move the ball and they share the ball and they can shoot the ball. They play with a lot of aggressiveness. Defensively, it's a heck of a challenge for us. And obviously we're going to have to take care of the ball better than we did the other night."

Boyle is referring to the 22 turnovers the Buffs committed during Wednesday's loss at USC, a glut of miscues that led to 25 points by the Trojans in what ended as a 12-point loss for CU. Such giveaways have turned into a chronic issue for the Buffs. CU's 262 total turnovers trail only Cal (265) for the most in the league, and their turnover margin of minus-3.4 is the worst in the Pac-12. CU is averaging 15.4 turnovers per game and has averaged 16.6 over the past 10 games.

"We just have to make the simple plays. That's what it comes down to," CU senior guard Dominique Collier said. "We can't do anything too outrageous like split the defense or make crazy plays. Just make the simple plays and hit the next man. Because that's where a lot of our turnovers come from, just trying to do too much offensively. Or thinking too much. Just play the game like we know how to play, like we played against the Arizona teams (last week)."

UCLA has enjoyed an impressive start to Pac-12 play, improving to 4-1 with an 83-64 win Thursday night against Utah. In league games only, the Bruins have scored a Pac-12-best 91.8 points per game while posting a .484 shooting percentage. That mark includes a league-leading .438 showing on 3-pointers, as the Bruins have gone 56-for-128 from long range in their five Pac-12 games.

Leading the way for the Bruins has been junior guard Aaron Holiday, who ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring (19.4 points per game) and second in assists (5.2). Holiday has averaged 23.8 points in UCLA's five league games while shooting a stellar .528 (38-for-72) from the floor. The Bruins also boast the second-leading rebounder in the league in senior Thomas Welsh, who is averaging 10.8 rebounds per game while shooting 46.7 percent from the floor.

"We have to be aware of (Holiday) at all times and take him on as a challenge," Boyle said. "Much like we did with (Allonzo) Trier (of Arizona). But Holiday has the ball in his hands a lot more because he's a point guard and he's a lot faster. But he creates a lot of the same problems. Can shoot the three, has a mid-range game, he's got floaters, he can get to the rim and finish there. He's an NBA guard, no doubt in my mind. And he's playing like it."

Pat Rooney: or