UCLA (22-7) at Washington (16-13)
GAME NOTES: The UCLA Bruins finish off the regular season with a two-game road trip, beginning tonight against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines Arena.
On Sunday, Arizona claimed the Pac-12 regular-season title with a 79-66 victory over Stanford, ending UCLA's hopes for the crown. However, at 11-5 in league action, the Bruins have secured the No. 2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. They are also one of five teams in the Pac-12 with at least 20 wins on the season (22-7), with a visit to Washington State all that remains after this contest.
Washington is quite a few rungs down the ladder from UCLA in the conference standings, currently tied with Utah for eighth place at 8-8. The Huskies have won their last two games to get into that position and improve to 16-13 overall. They will finish off the regular season on Saturday against UCSC.
This is the only scheduled meeting between these two teams this season. UCLA swept the two matchups a year ago and has won three straight against Washington overall. The Bruins also hold a commanding lead in the all-time series (94-40).
Powered by 24 points from Jordan Adams, UCLA avenged a loss from earlier in the season by rallying past Oregon for a 74-69 victory last time out. The Bruins trailed 38-29 at halftime, but in the end their scoring advantages off of turnovers (20-5) and at the free-throw line (21-14) proved to be the difference.
Adams (17.4 ppg) and Kyle Anderson (14.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 6.8 apg), who tallied 14 points against the Beavers, were returning from a one-game suspension in the contest. The backcourt duo are extremely important to the Bruins' efforts, with Adams the leading scorer and a skilled defender as he leads the Pac-12 in steals (2.9 spg). Anderson is even more vital for the team as he not only provides a solid scoring threat, but leads the Pac-12 in assists and ranks fourth in rebounding. Norman Powell (11.2 ppg) and Zach LaVine (10.7 ppg) help out on a team that is among the top-15 in the country in scoring (82.6 ppg), assists (17.5 apg) and field goal percentage (.489).
Washington had a much easier time in its last bout, rolling over Washington State 72-49. The Huskies connected on 51 percent of their shots from the floor, compared to a 31.1 percent performance from the Cougars. Nigel Williams-Goss was the star of the game, logging 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Huskies are not nearly as potent an offensive group as UCLA. They are netting just 74.4 ppg and shooting a shade below 45 percent from the field (.447). However, they feature one of the best individual scorers in the Pac-12 in C.J. Wilcox. The 6-foot-5 guard (18.2 ppg) is fifth in the conference in scoring, but he has really struggled recently, hitting for double figures in just two of the last six games. Luckily, the team does have a few other players to lean on, with Williams-Goss (13.4 ppg), Andrew Andrews (12.2 ppg) and Perris Blackwell (10.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg) all averaging in double figures as well.
If Washington hopes to upset UCLA, it will need to be at the top of its game offensively. With Wilcox's struggles weighing them down of late, accomplishing that goal might be difficult, as will its hopes of knocking off the Bruins.
GAME NOTES: The UCLA Bruins finish off the regular season with a two-game road
trip, beginning tonight against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000) -- Seattle, Washington.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: UCLA 16-2, Washington 13-3. Away Record: UCLA
4-4, Washington 3-8. Neutral Record: UCLA 2-1, Washington 0-2. Conference
Record: UCLA 8-8, Washington 5-10. Series Record: UCLA leads, 94-40.Game Date and Time
Thursday, March 6, 9 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
UCLA 77, Washington 70