UCLA guard Amari Bailey expected to be available for USC game, per report
UCLA will look to rebound from its first conference loss of the season on Thursday when it travels to the Galen Center to face USC.
Ahead of the crosstown showdown, the Bruin rotation is reportedly receiving a major boost. Freshman guard Amari Bailey is expected to be available to play in the game, according to The L.A. Times’ Ben Bolch. Bailey hasn’t played Dec. 21.
Amari Bailey is available to play against USC, I have been told. I believe Mick Cronin said something similar on Rodney and Roggin.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) January 25, 2023
Bailey has been dealing with a nagging foot issue that has kept him sidelined for seven straight games. Cronin said Kentucky big man Oscar Tshiebwe stepped on Bailey’s foot during their meeting on Dec. 17, and it was then aggravated in the Bruins’ win over UC Davis on Dec. 21.
The young guard hasn’t played since.
“It’s not serious, but it could be if you don’t let it calm down,” coach Mick Cronin said of Bailey’s injury ahead of UCLA’s game against Arizona State last week.
So far this season, Bailey has averaged 9.5 points and 3.3 rebounds a night. He had four straight games with double-digit points from Nov. 23 through Dec. 4. Getting his blend of playmaking back into the lineup should be helpful going up against what’s a stout USC defense.
David Singleton has filled in admirably in place of Bailey, but in Saturday’s loss to Arizona, Singleton was held scoreless for the first time this season. He wasn’t the only Bruin who struggled with his shot, as UCLA posted a 34.3% effective field goal rate as a team.
KenPom projects a 70-64 win for UCLA over USC. The Bruins escaped with a 60-58 win at Pauley when they last met. In that game, they were outscored 32-16 in the second half. Bailey was out of the lineup by that point. He’ll look to be a difference-maker on Thursday.
Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. PT on ESPN2.