The Bruins are set to host the Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion in a hotly-anticipated regular season finale.
The conference title may not be on the line, but the Bruins have a chance to extend the nation’s longest home winning streak and best their top hoops rival Saturday against the Wildcats.
WHO: UCLA vs. Arizona
DATE: Saturday, March 4
TIME: 7:05 p.m. PT
LOCATION: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: ESPN – Roxy Bernstein (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst)
STREAMING: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
RADIO: AM 570, Sirius Ch. 111 or 197, SXM App 959 – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SPREAD: UCLA -5 (-110), Arizona +5 (-118)*
MONEY LINE: UCLA -250, Arizona, +170*
OVER/UNDER: O 148 (-110), U 148 (-118)*
UCLA came in at No. 4 in the most recent AP Poll and No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and is currently No. 4 in the NET Rankings, No. 2 in the KenPom, No. 4 in the T-Rank and No. 4 in the BPI. Arizona was ranked No. 8 the AP Poll and No. 9 in the Coaches Poll, and is currently No. 11 in the NET, No. 11 in the KenPom, No. 8 in the T-Rank and No. 12 in the BPI.
According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, UCLA is projected to be the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region for the NCAA tournament, while Arizona is a No. 3 seed in the West
The Bruins were the heavy favorite to win the Pac-12 this season, earning the No. 1 spot in the preseason media poll with 26 first-place votes. The Wildcats, on the other hand, came in at No. 2 with three-first place votes. UCLA won the regular season conference title last weekend, while Arizona is locked into second place.
UCLA is led by coach Mick Cronin, who is in his fourth season with the program. Cronin boasts an 94-34 record since arriving in Westwood and a 459-205 record as a head coach overall, including his previous stints at Murray State and Cincinnati.
The Bruins are currently 26-4, including an 17-2 record in Pac-12 play. Following a winless weekend in Las Vegas in November, UCLA rattled off 14 wins in a row, including victories over Maryland, Kentucky and USC. The streak came to an end with back-to-back road losses against Arizona and USC, but the Bruins have since recovered by winning nine in a row over Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Oregon, Stanford, Cal, Utah, Colorado and Arizona State.
UCLA is averaging 73.9 points per game while allowing 59.7 points per game, which rank No. 126 and No. 6 in the country, respectively. The Bruins have the No. 22 adjusted offense and No. 2 adjusted defense in the KenPom. Their 16.2 turnovers forced per game and their 10.2 turnovers per game both rank inside the top 20 in the country.
Guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. leads UCLA with 17.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Guard Jaylen Clark is averaging 13.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game, while point guard Tyger Campbell is averaging 12.7 points and 4.7 assists per game. Freshmen Amari Bailey, Adem Bona and Dylan Andrews, meanwhile, have each emerged as secondary options alongside veteran sharpshooter David Singleton.
Arizona is led by coach Tommy Lloyd, who is in his second season with the Wildcats. Lloyd led Arizona to a No. 1 seed and Sweet 16 appearance in his first year as a head coach, coming off 20 years as an assistant under Mark Few at Gonzaga.
After opening the season 6-0 and beating then-No. 17 San Diego State and then-No. 10 Creighton to win the Maui Invitational, the Wildcats got upset by Utah on the road. Arizona bounced back with winning streaks that reached eight games and seven games – including wins over then-No. 14 Indiana then-No. 6 Tennessee and then-No. 5 UCLA – but have fallen victim to multiple conference upsets since. The Wildcats improved to 25-5 overall and 14-5 in conference play with an 87-81 win over USC on Thursday.
Arizona is averaging 84.6 points per game while allowing 73.0 points per game, which rank No. 8 and No. 280 in the country, respectively. The Wildcats have the No. 6 adjusted offense and No. 57 adjusted defense in the KenPom. Arizona has the second most assists per game in the country with 19.7, and they rank No. 3 in total rebounds per game with 41.6.
The Wildcats’ offense has largely been running through their big men this season, with forward Azuolas Tubelis averaging 20.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game and center Oumar Ballo averaging 16.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Veteran guards Kerr Kriisa and Pelle Larsson are putting up 10.9 and 10.2 points per game, respectively, although the former has been streaky from deep and the latter has been moved back into his sixth man role.
UCLA is 62-47 against Arizona all-time, and 5-3 since Cronin took over in Westwood. The Bruins have won the last four matchups at Pauley Pavilion.
Saturday’s contest will also be Senior Night, and while Singleton is the only Bruin who is out of eligibility, it could also be the final home game for Jaquez and Campbell.
*Odds via SI Sportsbook