No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Villanova will face off in a late game Friday night at Westwood’s Pauley Pavilion in what could be one of the best and most even and compelling matchups of opening week — and possibly of opening month — of the 2021-22 college basketball season.
The Bruins are slight favorites at home over the visiting Wildcats but both teams enter the game having blown out their competition in season-openers. For UCLA, that was a 95-58 destruction of CSU Bakersfield, and for Villanova, it was a 91-51 dismantling of Mount St. Mary’s. So it’s hard to get a good feel on what to expect when the teams clash Friday.
One thing is certain: Both teams boast experience and depth that programs across the country covet. UCLA returns every player of significance from its Final Four run a season ago and Villanova returns star guard Collin Gillespie and a wealth of experience around him. It sets up an old-school college hoops showdown Friday between two legit title contenders.
Here is what to know before the game and who our team expects to come out on top.
How to watch UCLA vs. Villanova live
Date: Friday, Nov. 12 | Time: 11:30 p.m. ET Location: Pauley Pavilion — Los Angeles TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
UCLA vs. Villanova prediction, picks
Featured Game| UCLA Bruins vs. Villanova Wildcats
UCLA is the slight betting favorite and on a neutral court, this feels like it’d probably be a pick ’em. But it’s not on a neutral court — it’s on UCLA’s court. So inside Pauley Pavilion I like the Bruins to ride the wave of crowd support to a big win (figuratively but not literally). Nova will keep this close though, I’d expect, so I’m taking the points with the ‘Cats. Prediction: UCLA 69, Villanova 66
Ivan Ivan, Evan Vierling, Logan Dowhaniuk and Aidan De La Gorgendiere are among the CHL overage players being eyed by NHL teams, according to Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek.
Ivan, a 20-year-old centre with the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles, scored 33 goals and 90 points in 64 games this season. The native of Ostrava, Czechia, is being pursued by six teams, according to Marek.
Vierling, a centre from Aurora, Ont., is also particularly intriguing.
“[He] was once upon a time a draft pick of the New York Rangers [and] didn’t assign,” Marek said during Saturday’s 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “Tearing up the OHL [with] 95 points for the Barrie Colts. Went to Columbus [Blue Jackets] camp last season — they almost signed him. He’ll get picked up this year for sure.”
Dowhaniuk, a defenceman, was traded to the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors from the Edmonton Oil Kings in December. He potted four goals and 17 points in 39 games for the Saskatchewan club.
De La Gorgendiere, also a defenceman, enjoyed a strong season with the Saskatoon Blades, scoring 12 goals and 65 points in 65 games. His 155 career points with the Blades ties him with Wendel Clark for tenth in all-time points by a defenceman in team history.