A few notes to preview Friday's crucial game against Washington, the preseason favorite to win the Pac-10 title:
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
Washington (9-3, 1-0 Pac-10)
C Aziz N'Diaye (5.3 points, 6.3 rebounds)
F Matthew Bryan-Amaning (14.3 points, 6.7 rebounds)
F Justin Holiday (12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds)
G Isaiah Thomas (15.3 points, 3.8 assists)
G Abdul Gaddy (9.0 points, 3.9 assists)
UCLA (9-4, 1-0 Pac-10)
C Joshua Smith (10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds)
F Reeves Nelson (14.7 points, 8.0 rebounds)
F Tyler Honeycutt (14.8 points, 8.1 rebounds)
G Malcolm Lee (12.8 points, 2.0 assists)
G Lazeric Jones (11.3 points, 3.5 assists)
Reeves Nelson vs. Himself -- If we've learned anything about UCLA this season, it's that sophomore forward Reeves Nelson is his own worst enemy. The yin and yang tattoo on his left shoulder says it all -- it's about balancing his two energies. At times he's the most determined player on the floor, hustling and battling for every rebound and loose ball. Other times, he's way off (a combined 13 points in the games against Montana and UC Irvine serving as proof). And when he's going good -- as he was in the second half of the Bruins' 80-71 win against Washington State on Wednesday -- UCLA appears to be an entirely different offensive machine. He turned it on Wednesday, scoring 13 of his 21 points after the break to help the Bruins erase an eight-point halftime deficit.
ABOUT THE HUSKIES
Washington was ranked as high as No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll on Nov. 22, but has not appeared in the top 25 since Dec. 6. ... The Huskies, 73-67 overtime winners at USC on Wednesday, have not swept an L.A. road trip since 2006 (which is also the last time Washington won at Pauley Pavilion). ... Washington leads the Pac-10 in nearly every category, including scoring (89.1 points per game), scoring margin (+21.0) and three-point field goal percentage (41.9%). ... Senior forward Justin Holiday, the older brother of former UCLA guard Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers), led North Hollywood Campbell Hall to the state Div. IV championship. ... There are two other local products on Washington's roster -- sophomore forward Tyreese Breshers (Los Angeles, Calif./Price) and junior forward Darnell Gant (Los Angeles, Calif./Crenshaw).
One of the lone bright spots from last year's disastrous 14-18 season was former walk-on Mustafa Abdul-Hamid's buzzer-beater that gave UCLA a thrilling 62-61 win over Washington at Pauley Pavilion. Adbul-Hamid is currently playing for KK Hemofarm in Serbia.