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Preview: No. 2 UCLA Bruins fight to stay undefeated against No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes

Both UCLA and Ohio State are on winning streaks entering Monday’s contest. Which team leaves with their streak intact?

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
The Buckeyes need a strong performance on the glass from Cotie McMahon and Taylor Thierry.
Clare Grant/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Monday, the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1) will host No. 2 UCLA Bruins (9-0) at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Both teams are currently on long winning streaks, with the Bruins unbeaten this year with nine straight wins and Ohio State also on an nine-game winning streak, with their only defeat happening in the season opener against the JuJu Watkins-led USC Trojans.

One of these top programs will lose on Monday and head into their conference competition on a sour note. Which one will it be?

Don't bet against Betts

There are a myriad of reasons the Bruins are playing the best basketball of anyone in the country. At the top of those reasons? Lauren Betts. Offensively, she's the epicenter of everything the Bruins are doing. On the defensive side, everything gets funneled to her as she defends the rim and discourages just as many field goal attempts as she blocks.

With Betts as the biggest of bigs and the excellent guard play from the Bruins, no one has been able to crack the code and defeat this team. They have a near-perfect balance of dynamic players who spread the floor and can play well on the perimeter, while Betts takes care of the production from the inside. They may be on the road, but UCLA will be a force to be reckoned with in the Midwest.

OSU's path to victory

If the Buckeyes extend their winning streak, it'll likely be because Jacy Sheldon goes nuclear—which she is capable of. She’s scoring 16.8 points per contest and had a season-high of 31 against Penn State earlier this month.

Pat Riley is famous for his quote, "No rebounds, no rings," which is just as true today as it was when he said it in the 1980s. With the Bruins being so good at rebounding the ball, forward Cotie McMahon will have to fight for those missed shots, along with guard Taylor Thierry, who leads the team in rebounds with six a game.

Closing thoughts

Two top teams matching up late in the calendar year on long winning streaks is the recipe for a captivating game. Ohio State will have to prove they can protect their homecourt, while the Bruins can come out and establish themselves as the favorite not just to win the Pac-12 but also the national title.

Game information

No. 2 UCLA Bruins (9-0) vs. No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1)

When: Monday, Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. ET

Where: Value City Arena in Columbus, OH

How to watch: FS1