Let's run down a few scenarios for tonight's game between UCLA and Oregon State at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA likely wins if...
...point guard Malcolm Lee slows down. Earlier this season, coach Ben Howland said Lee was "going 100 miles per hour." Guess what? The sophomore is still speeding. He has committed 18 turnovers in the last four games and has not looked comfortable since making the switch from shooting guard. To his credit, he wants the ball in his hands and can't be blamed for being aggressive, but he's got to realize that the basket is not going anywhere.
...forward Nikola Dragovic doesn't take a bad shot. This one may be hard to fulfill, but Dragovic has to show that he's a senior. His shot selection has been atrocious at times this season. We don't have to go back far for an example. On the opening play last Saturday at Washington, Dragovic had an open look, faked a shot and eventually settled for an off-balance, off-the-wrong-foot shot that barely drew iron. A bad look is like a turnover and the Bruins can't afford to waste possessions.
...someone steps up in the absence of Reeves Nelson. Will it be J'mison Morgan? Freshman Tyler Honeycutt can clean up the glass if he puts in the effort, but is anyone capable of replacing Nelson's toughness?
...guard Michael Roll catches fire. Roll couldn't miss at Washington State a week ago and his quick start sparked UCLA's offense. When he's on, Roll can match up with the nation's top shooters.
UCLA likely loses if...
...backup point guard Jerime Anderson is too passive. The sophomore has shown the ability to score when he drives to the bucket (on floaters and shots off the glass), but he needs to do it more often if he hopes to get shooters like Roll open looks. His reluctance has often led to turnovers.
...Oregon State guard Calvin Hayes actually makes his shots. When the two teams met at Gill Coliseum a month ago, Hayes missed 15 of his 20 shots -- nine coming from beyond the arc. He leads the Beavers with just over 13 points per game and is among the conference leaders in three-point percentage.
...Howland starts burning timeouts like they're going out of style. Using timeouts usually means you're in trouble, but Howland took that to another level last Saturday in Seattle. Not that it mattered much, but Howland had just one timeout left by halftime. UCLA isn't necessarily expected to blow out Oregon State, so a timeout here or a timeout there might be crucial.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. PT. Prime Ticket will broadcast the game locally.