First look: UCLA at Stanford


What: UCLA Bruins (18-7, 8-4 Pac-12) at Stanford Cardinal (15-10, 6-6)

When: Saturday, 1 p.m. PT

Where: Maples Pavilion, Palo Alto, Calif.


Radio: AM 570

Scouting the Bruins: UCLA entered the week in first place in the Pac-12 but is in danger of dropping all the way to fourth place by the end of the weekend with a loss at Stanford. UCLA is 3-4 in its past seven games after getting blown out at California on Thursday in the latest in a line of poorly played games by the Bruins. UCLA shot 37.7 percent against the Golden Bears, the fourth time in five games the Bruins have shot less than 40 percent. This is a team that leads the conference with a 46.1 shooting percentage, although it appears to have hit a wall. The Bruins shot less than 40 percent only one time this season (Nov. 13 versus UC Irvine) before the recent five-game slide. The Bruins also allowed Cal to shoot 50 percent -- the second-highest opponent shooting percentage registered against UCLA this season. Only Georgetown, which shot 54.5 percent Nov. 19, was higher. But Cal was the fourth team in the past seven games to shoot 45 percent or better against the Bruins, and UCLA lost all four of those games. Add in a monster rebounding advantage for UCLA opponents (299-236) across those seven games, and the Bruins simply aren’t playing very well in many areas right now.

Scouting the Cardinal: Stanford has been as difficult to figure out as UCLA in recent weeks. The Cardinal have lost two of their past three but had a victory over first-place Oregon on Jan. 30. Stanford is coming off a 65-64 loss to USC on Thursday, a game USC led by 14 early in the second half before the Cardinal almost completed the comeback. The bad news for the rebounding-challenged Bruins is that Stanford’s frontcourt of Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell boasts two of the top seven rebounders in the Pac-12, averaging 9.3 and 8.3 per game, respectively. Powell had 17 against USC on Thursday. They combined for 23 rebounds the last time Stanford played UCLA. The good news for UCLA is that Stanford is the worst shooting team in the conference, connecting on only 41.4 percent of its shots. Powell leads the team with 15.2 points a game, Chasson Randle is averaging 13.7 and Huestis is averaging 10.2. John Gage has made 33 of 71 3-point shots (46.5 percent) to lead the conference in that stat. The Cardinal are 10-3 at home this season and have won three of their past four at Maples Pavilion.

The series: UCLA leads the all-time series 137-91 and defeated the Cardinal 68-60 on Jan. 5 at Pauley Pavilion.

Quick quote: "We've got our hands full," UCLA coach Ben Howland said about facing the Cardinal. "It's a quick turnaround game, not a lot of prep time. We've just got to come out and play a lot better than we did [Thursday] night to have success [Saturday] afternoon."