TV Schedule: Friday, Feb. 12, 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Stadium: McKale Center
Things have been a little off in the 2015-16 college basketball season … but in no way is that a bad thing.
These two examples will explain the oddness of this season perfectly: (1) The Arizona Wildcats are 1.5 games back in the Pac-12 title race at 7-4. (2) The UCLA Bruins have knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats, Gonzaga Bulldogs and Arizona, but are 13-10 overall.
Nonetheless, the two squads will take the court against one another on Friday. In the first meeting of the season, the Bruins came out on top at home. Since that big-time victory, UCLA has been far from the best team in the conference, and a lot of its luster, if you will, has died.
The Bruins might have three major wins in 2015-16, but they still could miss out on the NCAA tournament. After all, they already have 10 losses. If they can somehow knock off the Wildcats, and the Oregon Ducks later on down the line, it will be almost impossible to deny them a spot in the dance … no matter what their record is. We will face that one if and when that actually happens.
UCLA enters this contest on a one-game losing streak while Arizona has won its last three games in a row.
Let’s talk some season averages: The Wildcats are averaging 81.2 points per game and allowing 67.6 points per game in the process. The Bruins are putting up 79.3 PPG and giving up 77 PPG.
If Bryce Alford & Co. can harness some magic from earlier in the season, they could end up sweeping the season series. However, I just don’t see that happening, not when UCLA is now 4-6 in Pac-12 play.
PREDICTION: Bruins 74, Wildcats 85