Sunday, April 2, 2023

College basketball rankings: UCLA’s Johnny Juzang is heating up and that’s good news for the Bruins

College basketball rankings: UCLA's Johnny Juzang is heating up and that's good news for the Bruins

Juzang scored 28 points as UCLA, No. 10 in Friday’s updated Top 25 And 1, defeated Utah 63-58

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Johnny Juzang led UCLA to the 2021 Final Four by going on one of the great individual scoring runs in modern NCAA Tournament history. He scored 23 points in a First Four win over Michigan State, 27 points in a First Round win over BYU, 28 points in an Elite Eight win over Michigan, and then 29 points in that instant-classic overtime loss to Gonzaga at the Final Four in Indianapolis.

He was awesome.

Now he’s doing it again.

The 6-foot-7 guard took 13 shots Thursday night, made nine of them and finished with 28 points in the Bruins’ 63-58 win at Utah. Juzang is now averaging 25.0 points in UCLA’s past three games, which is actually better than the 22.8 points he averaged during last season’s NCAA Tournament run.

“He knew he could score so we were trying to get him in as much space as we could,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin told reporters afterward. “I probably should have got [him] some more opportunities.”

That’s rarely a bad strategy.

Juzang’s field goal percentage (46.3), 3-point percentage (37.8), points per game average (17.9), rebounds per game average (4.9), and assists per game average (1.8) are all better than they were last season. He’s been a little off the radar lately because the Bruins haven’t played a currently ranked team in almost two months, and because they didn’t play at all for nearly four weeks after COVID issues temporarily shut down the program. But Juzang is the main reason UCLA is off to a 12-2 start. He’s well on his way to a season in which All-America honors seem possible, if not likely.

UCLA is No. 10 in Friday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Bruins are scheduled to play at Colorado on Saturday. After that comes Tuesday’s showdown with Arizona, which is 15-1 and ranked sixth in the Top 25 And 1.

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Top 25 And 1 rankings

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