TV Schedule: Wednesday, March 2, 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Stadium: Pauley Pavilion
The Oregon Ducks are on the verge of winning the Pac-12 regular season title (they currently have a 0.5-game lead). They just need to take care of business against the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans and then they can add championship status to their 2016 NCAA tournament resume.
Meanwhile, the Bruins need a miracle to make the Big Dance. Unfortunately, wins over Oregon and the Oregon State Beavers won’t be enough. For one, knocking off those opponents in back-to-back games is no cakewalk. Also, UCLA stands at 15-14 entering this contest, so it likely has to win the Pac-12 tourney if it plans on dancing.
Then again, nothing is impossible this time of year, and although the Bruins have been dropping games left and right, they do have the potential to knock off any team in the country. They beat the Kentucky Wildcats and Arizona Wildcats earlier in the year, after all (both were ranked in the top 10 at the time).
Coming back to reality, the Ducks are ranked in the top 10. If they manage to win out during the regular season, which would include them winning the Pac-12 regular season title, and also win the Pac-12 tourney, who knows how high their seed will be. As of right now, Joe Lunardi has them at a No. 3 seed, so a No. 2 or No. 1 seed isn’t completely out of the question.
The Ducks might be traveling on the road in this clash, but their three-game winning streak will provide them with more than enough momentum to knock off the struggling Bruins.
PREDICTION: Ducks 71, Bruins 65