Stanford (9-5) at UCLA (11-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: New Pauley Pavilion (13,800) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Stanford 6-1, UCLA 9-1. Away Record: Stanford 1-2, UCLA 0-0. Neutral Record: Stanford 1-1, UCLA 2-2. Conference Record: Stanford 0-1, UCLA 1-0. Series Record: UCLA leads, 136-91.
GAMES NOTES: The surging UCLA Bruins will continue their slow climb back towards the national rankings when they take on the Stanford Cardinal in a Pac-12 showdown at Pauley Pavilion.
Stanford will be trying to bounce back from a heartbreaking 71-69 loss that came down to the final seconds against USC. The setback game in the first contest of a two-game road trip that kicked off league play for the Cardinal. Stanford is now 9-5 overall including a mark of 1-2 in road matchups. Stanford returns to Maples Pavilion to begin a three-game homestand starting with Washington State next.
After consecutive losses a month ago, UCLA's promising season looked to be headed in the wrong direction with the team out of the national rankings and sitting at 5-3. Since then the Bruins have been red hot with wins in six straight contests with four of those wins coming by double digits. That includes a 79-65 rout of California on Thursday night in the conference opener. UCLA is 9-1 at home this season but will step out on the road next to face Utah.
Last year these two teams split the season series. UCLA has won 10 of the last 12 meetings and owns the all-time series lead by a margin of 136-91.
Stanford led by as many as nine points in the second half against USC but had that lead whittled down and actually found itself losing 69-67 with less than a minute remaining. Andy Brown than scored the last of his game-high 17 points to tie the game up but free throws on the other end had Stanford trailing once again. The Cardinal got two looks at the basket in the final seconds but couldn't convert either.
The Cardinal knocked down 9-of-19 shots from beyond the arc in the loss to USC as it continues to rely heavily on shots from long distance. Stanford has attempted the third most 3-pointers in the conference (268) but is shooting the worst percentage (.287) from deep. Stanford has also been the worst shooting team overall (40.7 FG percentage) which has kept the team from scoring at a higher level (70.1 ppg). On the defensive end the Cardinal have made strides forward by allowing 64.1 points per game on 40.8 percent shooting. Part of the issues on offense has been the drop in production from Chasson Randle. The 6-foot-1 guard (12.8 ppg, 3.4 apg) shot 43.8 percent from 3-point range last season but has netted just 21.9 percent this season. Dwight Powell (14.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg) has had to pick up the slack as the team's top scorer.
UCLA played well defensively against California especially on the perimeter as they forced the Golden Bears to miss on all 13 of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Bruins also willed themselves to the line throughout the night, especially Kyle Anderson, who nailed all nine of his free-throw attempts en route to a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double.
Anderson (9.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg) has really been picking his game up during the Bruins' winning streak as he is averaging 13.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game over the last six contests. Anderson's efforts have added to the already stellar production the Bruins have gotten from star freshman Shabazz Muhammad (19.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Jordan Adams (16.9 ppg). The talent on the roster does not stop there with Travis Wear (11.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg) scoring and rebounding well, while Larry Drew (6.0 ppg, 8.6 apg) is second in the country in assists. With a litany of scorers the Bruins have been far and away the best offensive team in the conference. UCLA ranks 14th in the country in scoring (80.8 ppg), 17th in field-goal percentage (.484) and fourth in assists (18.5 pg). All those marks top the Pac-12.
The Bruins seem to be shaping into the powerhouse many envisioned this offseason and should continue to move in the right direction in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 82, Stanford 70
01/05 10:31:43 ET