Shabazz Muhammad will make his home debut on Sunday as the 11th ranked UCLA Bruins host the Cal Poly Mustangs for a Golden State duel at New Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins return home after splitting a pair of games versus Georgetown and Georgia in the Progressive Legends Classic in Brooklyn. UCLA's loss to Georgetown was the first for Ben Howland's team on the season despite the fact he had Muhammad at his disposal for the first time since the NCAA determined him eligible to participate. After scoring 15 off the bench in the loss to the Hoyas, the heralded freshman led the team with 21 points in a four-point win over Georgia. The Bruins recovered from a slow start in that contest and shot 50 percent from the floor in the second en route to the win.
Cal Poly dropped to 1-2 its last time out after being handed a 76-67 loss by Fresno State at home. The Mustangs came up short at TCU (52-46) in the season opener, which was their only road game as well. In between the losses lies their lone win, a 64-53 decision over Northern Colorado. Fourth-year head coach Joe Callero led the team to a win at USC last season, which makes him 1-3 versus Pac-12 opposition as the Mustangs' head coach.
UCLA and Cal Poly will take the floor in the sixth overall meeting between the two programs. The Bruins earned a 72-61 win over Cal Poly when the two schools last met on Dec. 11, 2010 to improve its series record versus the Mustangs to 5-0.
The Mustangs were overmatched their last time out versus Fresno State. The Bulldogs had no problem finding the bottom of the basket as they hit 55.3 percent of their shots from the field, including 9-of-18 from beyond the arc. Cal Poly made a decent 47.1 percent of its field goal attempts in the contest and turned the ball over just six times. However, the team made only 14-of-22 attempts at the charity stripe and suffered a 31-22 loss in the rebounding battle. Forward Chris Eversley paced the team with 14 points and guard Dylan Royer added 12. Eversley is the only player on the team with a scoring average in double figures (14.3 ppg), but he is converting only 41 percent of his field goal tries in doing so.
Through five games, UCLA is producing 79.2 ppg on 45.4 percent shooting, while allowing just 68.4 ppg. Freshman Jordan Adams from Oak Hill Academy has been the most impressive player on the team this season. The rookie guard is scoring 19.6 ppg in just 25.4 minutes per contest off the bench. Muhammad's presence may take away some shots, but it will also open things up for Adams. The Bruins have an NBA sized frontcourt with the Wear twins, David and Travis, and the 6-10, 305-pound Joshua Smith. The trio should be able to dominate the glass against Cal Poly's much smaller forwards. Kyle Anderson is another highly touted freshman on Howland's squad, but his shouting accuracy (30.6 percent FG, 0-6 3PT, 9-19 FT) has been very poor in the early stages of his career.