U-C-L-A (19-13) vs Arizona (21-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 8, 5:40 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Staples Center (7,500) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: FSN. Home Record: UCLA 10-4, Arizona 14-3. Away Record: UCLA 4-7, Arizona 6-4. Neutral Record: UCLA 5-2, Arizona 1-3. Conference Record: UCLA 11-7, Arizona 12-6. Series Record: UCLA leads, 49-36.
GAMES NOTES: The second quarterfinal of the Pac-12 Tournament will feature the fifth-seeded UCLA Bruins will square off with the fourth-seeded Arizona Wildcats in a matchup of two of the most successful programs in the conference at the Staples Center. The winner will face whichever team comes out of the quarterfinal matchup between ninth-seed Oregon State and top-seed Washington.
The two squads have combined for seven of the 16 total Pac-12 titles with Arizona leading the conference with four and UCLA at three. These squads have also each had impressive records in the tournament with Arizona (19-10) the conference leader and UCLA (15-11) also putting together strong showings.
In the regular season these teams split two matchups in games that were decided by a combined nine points. UCLA leads the all-time series by a 49-36 margin.
With its 55-40 win over USC in the opening round the Bruins are just a win shy of their regular season long winning streak after the Bruins closed out the regular season with back-to-back wins. The Bruins have also won five of the last seven with the two losses both coming on the road by a combined five points. Overall UCLA ended the season at 18-13 and 11-7 in league play.
Arizona didn't close the season with much punch, splitting wins and losses over its last four games, including an 87-80 loss to in-state rival Arizona State in the regular season finale. Even with the loss the Wildcats earned a bye in the first round with a 12-6 mark in league play and a strong 21-10 ledger overall.
In a low scoring first half UCLA wound up leading 22-21 in its opening round bout with USC by closing the period on a 9-0. The Bruins then woke up against the Pac-12's worst team and ripped off a 17-2 run to go up 39-25 early in the second half, a lead they would not surrender. The Bruins connected on only 33.9 percent of its shots from the floor but the Trojans were even worse at 28.8 percent.
UCLA isn't among the elite offensive teams in the Pac-12. The Bruins score 69.4 points per game which ranks seventh in the league although UCLA does make good use of its opportunities with the third highest field goal percentage in the Pac-12 (.468). Defense is where the squad has really been able to find success, holding teams to 63.1 points per game. Senior guard Lazeric Jones (13.4 ppg, 4.2 apg) kept his claim as the team's leading scorer by again topping the list in the first round with 15 points. The squad is anchored by twin brothers Travis Wear (11.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and David Wear (10.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) with David the better scorer and Travis the superior rebounder. Those roles were reversed in the first round, as Travis had 12 points and eight rebounds and David finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Tyler Lamb (9.2 ppg) had 14 points in the game as well and is coming on as of late scoring in double figures in four of the last five games.
Arizona ran out to a 44-38 halftime advantage against Arizona State by shooting at a 51.6 percent clip while outscoring the Sun Devils 18-12 from three point range. The Wildcats defense faltered in the second frame allowing the Sun Devils to heat up to an even 60.0 percent shooting while being outscored 39-36 over the last twenty minutes.
Balance is the best word to describe Arizona as the Wildcats score a solid 70.1 points per game while putting forward some effective defensive efforts (63.2 papg). Senior guard Kyle Fogg did everything he could to earn a victory in his last regular season game in a Wildcat uniform pouring in 23 points, but the normally deadly three-point shooter went just 2-for-8 from long distance. Fogg (13.5 ppg) finished the season as the leading scorer. Solomon Hill (12.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Jesse Perry (12.0 ppg 7.3 rpg) have combined on the inside as one of the better frontcourt tandems in the Pac-12 this season with the pair at second and fourth, respectively, in the conference in rebounding. The pair combined for 31 points and 14 rebounds against UCLA although 11 of those boards belonged to Perry. The Wildcats will be without freshman guard Josiah Turner (6.8 ppg) in this game after he was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday for violating team rules. Turner had started 16 of the last 17 games for Arizona.
This game will have some interesting matchups with Arizona's strong tandem of Hill and Perry banging on the inside with the Wears. Losing Turner will force the Wildcats to shake up their starting lineup but shouldn't hurt badly enough for them to drop this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 72, UCLA 65
03/08 10:33:36 ET