UCLA Clinches Share of Pac-12 Title as Arizona State Sinks Arizona

For the first time since 2013, the Bruins are atop the conference thanks to the Sun Devils’ half court buzzer beater.

The Bruins didn’t take the court Saturday, but they still managed to notch a big win.

No. 4 UCLA men’s basketball (24-4, 15-2 Pac-12) has clinched a share of the Pac-12 regular season title for the first time since 2013, thanks to Arizona State upsetting No. 7 Arizona in Tucson.

The Bruins entered the weekend in first place with a 1.5-game lead on the Wildcats, and a win over Utah on Thursday bumped that lead up to two games. Arizona State swished a half-court shot at the buzzer to beat Arizona 89-88 two days later, making it a 2.5-game lead for the blue and gold with three games to go.

UCLA can clinch the Pac-12 title outright with a win at Colorado on Sunday.

UCLA was the preseason favorite to win the conference for the third year in a row back in October, earning 26 of the 33 first-place votes from media members.

Coach Mick Cronin led UCLA to second-place finishes in the Pac-12 in his first and third seasons in Westwood, and he has now helped the Bruins accomplish what they never did under Steve Alford in his fourth year at the helm.

The last time the Bruins won the conference, they were led by the freshman trio of Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson, plus the Wear brothers and Norman Powell. That core was knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the Round of 64, however, and they made just one AP Top 25 between Nov. 26 and Feb. 25, never breaking into the top 20 during conference play.

UCLA currently ranks No. 4 in the AP Poll, No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, No. 3 in the NET, No. 2 in the KenPom, No. 3 in the T-Rank and No. 4 in the BPI. The Bruins were named the No. 2 seed in the East Region on Feb. 18, coming in at No. 8 overall – two spots behind the Wildcats.

Arizona’s loss, coupled with UCLA extending its winning streak to seven games, likely has the Bruins leaping over them in the bracket for the time being. UCLA and Arizona will face off at Pauley Pavilion on March 4, and while the contest may not have an impact on the final Pac-12 standings, it could go a long way in deciding who gets the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the West come March Madness.

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