If the Pac-12 men’s basketball conference were a live auction, this is what the proverbial auctioneer could sound like every week requesting every bid from UCLA’s flawless record.
« How about a sweep on the road in Utah and Colorado, I hear 3-0? » Yes, with a total of five points sold to two victories!
The following week … « A particularly rare item, a 5-0 win in Arizona? » Boom! Two more wins with a total of 11 points, including an overtime thriller!
After two home wins against Washington State (91-61) and Washington (81-76) and an exciting win over Cal (61-57) on Thursday evening on the street, the auctioneer keeps it simple for the next point: “Listen i 9-0? »
Buyers may not jump from their seats for Saturday’s Stanford game, but the bidding war will be interesting after UCLA’s 8-0 conference record scores six wins with six points or less.
« This is the character I’d like to see from our team, » said UCLA coach Mick Cronin when asked about close wins at Thursday night’s press conference. « The only nickname I’m interested in … if you remember – ‘winner’. W-I-N. That’s how you spell fun. »
The Bruins No. 24 (12: 2) are unbeaten in the conference game for the first time since the 1982/83 season.
Stanford (8-5, 4-3 Pac-12) is a talented team with the conference’s top scorer, Oscar da Silva (19.3 points per game), and a likely NBA lottery for newbie Ziaire Williams from Los Angeles.
The Cardinal was scheduled to host USC Thursday night, but the game has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. According to reports from Friday morning, the test that postponed the game was false positive. In any case, this means that the Bruins now have to face a more rested Stanford.
« I just hope we play the game, » said Cronin. « Same time, same place – that’s our plan. Knock on wood. (Wednesday night) there were 19 postponed (NCAA) games. It’s been a crazy year so obviously the last thing we want is for a game to be postponed . »
UCLA and Stanford are currently seeing opposite trends, one of which is statistical, according to Ken Pomeroy’s figures. The cardinal ranks 87th in attack efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency. UCLA is almost a mirror opposite and is in 9th place offensively and 90th defensively.
The second contrast is the current form of the game. UCLA is on a seven-game winning streak as Stanford tries to halt a two-game loss after losing to Utah (79-65) and Colorado (77-64) last week.
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One final difference worth noting is the style in which the teams win. The last six UCLA conference victories are six points or less. Stanford’s four conference victories are an average of 11 points ahead, including a 10-point win over Oregon State, a 16-point win over Washington, and a 15-point win over Washington State.
« It’s very rare that we go into another team’s house and blow it out, » said UCLA junior wing Jules Bernard. « Just the feeling of beating a team on the road, even if it’s a grind-it-out game, gives us confidence in what we’re doing. » We look forward to doing it again. »
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