First look: Arizona at UCLA

February, 28, 2013
2/28/13
6:00
PM PT

What: No. 11 Arizona Wildcats (23-5, 11-5) at UCLA Bruins (21-7, 11-4)

When: Saturday, 6 p.m. PT

Where: Pauley Pavilion

TV: ESPN

Radio: AM 570

Scouting the Bruins: After a short slump, UCLA is beginning to round back into form with three consecutive victories and five in its past six games. The three-game win streak is the first for the Bruins since their 10-game win streak ended Jan. 19, and the Bruins are averaging 80.7 points during their current three-game run. They dominated USC on Sunday and are coming off a hard-fought overtime victory over Arizona State on Wednesday, when freshmen Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad combined for 64 points and 28 rebounds. Adams has been scorching hot of late, averaging a team-high 19.3 points and shooting 56.3 percent over the past four games. Anderson is averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds over the past four games. Muhammad leads the team with 18.3 points per game for the season, and he's leading the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting percentage (44.9 percent). He made 3-of-4 from beyond the arc Wednesday against Arizona State, but also rolled his ankle during the first half and needed treatment on it after the game. He had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first half of that game, but only six points on 2-of-5 shooting in the second half and overtime. Still, he said he would be fine for Saturday's game. Forward Travis Wear is still day-to-day because of a sprained foot and will be a game-time decision. Wear is averaging 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds for the season.

Scouting the Wildcats: Arizona is clinging to its Pac-12 title hopes after losing at USC on Wednesday to fall to 3-3 in its past six games. The Wildcats had won five of six before the current slide and have some of the best nonconference wins of any team in the Pac-12 (Florida, Miami), and have been ranked No. 12 or higher all season. Mark Lyons (15.2 points) Solomon Hill (13.9 points, 5.3 rebounds) and Nick Johnson (11.4 points) are the main threats, but the Wildcats have plenty of weapons and have four players averaging five rebounds or more for the season. Johnson had a season-high 23 points when Arizona and UCLA met last month in Tucson, but has averaged only 8.1 points per game since. Senior Kevin Parrom comes in as the hottest shooter on the team having averaged 17.5 points on 12-of-16 shooting over the past two games, including 8-of-12 from 3-point range. The Wildcats average 73.6 points, second only to UCLA in the Pac-12, and are second in the conference in rebounding margin at +6.1. Arizona also leads the conference in 3-pointers made with 211. Lyons (53) and Hill (47) lead the way from beyond the arc, with the 6-7 Hill presenting a difficult matchup because of his size and shooting range combination.

The series: UCLA leads the series, 50-37, and won the last meeting, 84-73, Jan. 24 in Tucson. The Bruins are 30-13 against Arizona at Pauley Pavilion, including a 71-49 rout the last time the teams played there in 2011. Last year's UCLA home game was at the Honda Center in Anaheim, won by the Bruins, 65-58.

Fast Fact: This is a pivotal game in the Pac-12 title race with the league's two most storied programs both still in the thick of the hunt for the championship. Fittingly, ESPN's College GameDay will be on hand for the showdown. The GameDay telecast will begin at 7 a.m. PT on ESPNU and will continue at 8 a.m. PT on ESPN. A one-hour GameDay show will air on ESPN at 5 p.m PT leading into the game.

Quick quote: "It's big time that GameDay is here and it just gives us another time to show ourselves on national television," Muhammad said. "We're really excited. They're going to give us 110 percent coming off that loss to USC. We're going to get ready for that. I'm going to relax myself and get ready for this war that we're about to be in."

Peter Yoon

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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