UCLA (17-12) at Washington State (27-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 11 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beasley Coliseum (11,671) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: FS1. Home Record: UCLA 16-2, WSU 6-8. Away Record: UCLA 5-4, WSU 1-10. Neutral Record: UCLA 2-1, WSU 2-2. Conference Record: UCLA 12-5, WSU 2-15. Series Record: UCLA leads, 102-15.
GAME NOTES: The UCLA Bruins and Washington State Cougars will finish off their respective regular season slates on Saturday night, as the two teams meet at Beasley Coliseum in a Pac-12 Conference clash.
This is one of the most lopsided conference rivalries not only in the Pac-12, but the country as well. UCLA has won 102 times in 117 tries against the Cougars. Washington State did pull off a 73-61 win over the Bruins to salvage a season split a year ago, but the win came on the heels of eight straight defeats in the series.
The disparity doesn't look like it will be changing in the lone meeting this season, as the Bruins come in off wins in back-to-back contests and with the second seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament already wrapped up. They are 23-7 overall, trailing only third-ranked Arizona in the conference standings, and in terms of overall success rate.
Washington State is at the other end of the spectrum, with just a 2-15 mark against the rest of the Pac-12 and a 9-20 overall ledger. The Cougars dropped a 79-68 decision to USC on Thursday for their eighth straight loss and one that pushed it to the bottom of the Pac-12 standings, as USC, also 2-15 in league play, now owns the tiebreaker against them.
UCLA was also in action on Thursday. Unlike the Cougars however, the Bruins were able to pull out a 91-82 road victory against their opponent (Washington). Jordan Adams was unstoppable in the win, netting a career-high 31 points for the Bruins, who connected on 54.2 percent of their shots from the floor in the contest.
Adams (17.9 ppg) seems to have found his touch down the stretch, scoring at least 20 points in four of his last five games after failing to do so in the previous 10. There is plenty of support for Adams, even when he isn't erupting on offense. Kyle Anderson (14.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 6.7 apg) does it all, leading the conference in assists and ranking fifth in rebounding, while serving as the club's second scoring option. Norman Powell (11 ppg) shoots 53.7 percent from the floor as the third guard in the starting lineup, and Zach LaVine (10.8 ppg) is the top option for a rather strong bench. The wealth of talent has helped UCLA rank among the top-15 teams in the country in scoring (82.9 ppg), assists (17.5 apg) and field goal percentage (.490).
DaVonte Lacy scored 20 points and collected 10 rebounds and D.J. Shelton (11 points, 11 rebounds) also had a double-double, but it wasn't enough for Washington State against USC. The Cougars only connected on 36.5 percent of their shots from the floor, compared to the 50.9 percent effort they allowed to the Trojans.
Lacy (19.6 ppg) has seemingly carried the offense on his own, when healthy, this season. The 6-foot-4 guard, who missed eight games in the middle of the season, has come on strong since his return, reaching at least 20 points in five of his last nine contests and scoring in double figures in each of those outings. Unfortunately, Lacy has not been given a ton of support. Shelton (9.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg) may be a double-double threat each time out, but he is only connecting on 39.4 percent from the field. Que Johnson (9.7 ppg) has shown flashes of scoring ability, but is also plagued by inconsistent shooting (.390 FG percentage). With only Lacy to rely on, the Cougars are last in the Pac-12 in scoring (62 ppg), field goal percentage (.402), assists (10.4 apg) and rebounding (32.6 rpg).
While the beauty of sports is that anything can happen whenever two teams face off, the chances of the Cougars pulling off an upset in this one are extremely slim.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 75, Washington State 60
03/08 11:07:13 ET