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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT | SCOUTING REPORT

UCLA (24-8) vs. Kentucky (31-4)

March 20, 1998|TIM KAWAKAMI

Southern Regional, St. Petersburg, FLA, Tonight, 7 (approximate), Ch. 2

UCLA

THE STARTERS

25: Earl Watson

13: Ravis Reed

12: Toby Bailey

54: Kris Johnson

52: J.R. Henderson

* About UCLA: Earl Watson, in only the most important game of the season, is the player with the biggest responsibilities. Even if Baron Davis were healthy, Watson would have been a key performer on offense and defense against the Wildcats' up-tempo style. But with Davis out, the Bruins cannot afford one of Watson's occasional lull games. He has to get them into their offense, make sure Travis Reed and sixth man Rico Hines are steady, and try to keep the Kentucky guards in some sort of chaos. That's asking a lot from someone who has scored in double digits only five times and had more turnovers than assists in two of his last four games. J.R. Henderson, especially, will be there to help him with ballhandling duties. But if UCLA is going to use its fastbreak effectively, it will be up to Watson, playing almost 40 minutes.

KENTUCKY

THE STARTERS

5: Wayne Turner

3: Allen Edwards

15: Jeff Shepperd

34: Scott Padgett

13: Nazr Mohammed

* About Kentucky: Somebody somewhere is going to test the Wildcats in the tournament, but it hasn't happened yet. Teams that can't handle their speed and their will to get the ball into their big-man scorers get ripped apart. But Kentucky isn't invulnerable. If a team can survive its attacking defense, Jeff Sheppard, Allen Edwards and backup point guard Saul Smith can be exploited by a calm, confident half-court offense, and when the Wildcats' outside shooting goes cold, things can grind to a halt. Sheppard, Wayne Turner, Edwards, Nazr Mohammed and reserve scorer Cameron Mills were all part of the 1996 national-title team, but in limited roles. Edwards is a near mirror image of Toby Bailey, so look for that matchup, if it materializes, to be electric.

* Keys to the game: How much longer can the Bruins go on guts, guile and the ever-expanding leadership abilities of Bailey, Henderson and Kris Johnson? UCLA beat Michigan in the second round, mostly without Davis, by sheer force of will--and the Wolverines shrank from the challenge. Kentucky, though, is not Michigan, and you aren't going to see Edwards, Turner or Sheppard shy away from anything. Kentucky, like Arizona, is a team that might be able to play UCLA successfully man to man. Coach Tubby Smith is renowned for getting his players open shots--remember Tulsa against UCLA in 1994?--and UCLA must get Kentucky playing out of character for any Wildcat to duplicate Michigan guard Louis Bullock's seven-of-27 shooting collapse.

*--*

BRUIN STATISTICS No Player Pos. FG% FT% Reb. Ast. Pts. 52 Henderson C .553 .647 7.9 1.5 19.2 54 Johnson F .526 .838 5.0 1.1 18.7 12 Bailey G .444 .730 5.6 4.0 17.8 5 Davis G .527 .667 4.1 5.3 11.8 25 Watson G .405 .618 3.8 3.3 5.8 13 Reed F .571 .273 2.2 0.2 3.7 3 Knight G .442 .700 0.8 0.1 2.8 22 Hines G .361 .500 1.5 0.5 2.1 20 Loyd G .417 .667 0.2 0.1 1.4 4 Daley F .400 1.000 0.8 0.3 1.3 11 Ramasar G .000 .500 0.4 0.0 0.2 30 Farnham F .000 .500 1.3 0.3 0.1 Totals .498 .663 36.1 16.2 84.2 WILDCAT STATISTICS No. Player Pos. FG% FT% Reb. Ast. Pts. 15 Sheppard G .433 .688 3.7 2.8 13.1 13 Mohammed C .609 .664 7.5 0.8 11.9 34 Padgett F .475 .833 6.6 2.1 11.2 5 Turner G .494 .632 3.1 4.4 9.3 3 Edwards G .440 .641 3.4 3.3 9.2 14 Evans F .533 .590 5.3 1.7 8.7 42 Magloire C .473 .649 4.4 0.3 5.3 21 Mills G .415 .947 1.5 0.7 4.4 11 Smith G .368 .618 1.1 1.3 2.8 33 Bradley F-C .725 .514 1.7 0.5 2.6 25 Anthony F .390 .615 1.2 0.2 2.2 22 Hogan G .227 .500 0.6 0.4 0.8 4 Masiello G .500 .500 0.1 0.1 0.6 Totals .481 .667 42.6 17.9 79.4

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