- Peter Yoon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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What: UCLA Bruins (15-4, 5-1) at No. 6 Arizona Wildcats (16-1, 4-1)
When: Thursday, 6 p.m. PT
Where: McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: AM 570
Scouting the Bruins: UCLA lost for the first time in 11 games on Saturday, when the Bruins fell 76-67 to Oregon. The Ducks outrebounded UCLA 40-31, marking the sixth time in the past seven games that the Bruins have been beaten on the boards by their opponent. UCLA currently ranks No. 11 in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin at minus-3.5 per conference game. That's not good news for Thursday's matchup, as Arizona leads the conference with a plus-7.6 rebounding margin per conference game. The Bruins still boast the top-scoring offense in the league with 77.6 points per game, but that number is down to 70.5 over the past six games. Junior forward Travis Wear continues to have the hot hand, and is averaging a team-best 17.6 points while shooting a scorching 61.7 percent over the past four games. Kyle Anderson is averaging nearly a double-double (12.5 points, 9.5 rebounds) over that same span. Leading scorer Shabazz Muhammad, however, has gone cold of late and is averaging 12.8 points and shooting 40.4 percent the past two weeks. UCLA played well on the road its last time out -- sweeping Utah and Colorado -- and the Bruins are 4-2 away from Pauley Pavilion this season.
Scouting the Wildcats: Arizona has won two straight since its only loss Jan. 10 at Oregon. The Wildcats were ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation after starting the season with 14 consecutive wins, and have been ranked in the top 10 for 10 consecutive weeks. Arizona has been very good at home, where the team is 9-0 and averaging 78.9 points, with an average margin of victory of 15.7 points. The Wildcats are shooting 48 percent in the McKale Center. Guard Mark Lyons, a transfer from Xavier, leads the team with 15.2 points per game, and was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after scoring 24 last week at Arizona State. Solomon Hill, a 6-7 senior forward, is averaging 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Wildcats, who have four players averaging five or more rebounds per game. Freshman Kaleb Tarczewski, a 7-foot center, leads the way with six rebounds per game. The Wildcats are very good outside shooters and lead the Pac-12 in 3-pointers made (135) and 3-point percentage (38.2). Hill is shooting 43.5 percent (30 of 69) from behind the arc, and guard Kevin Parrom is shooting 42 percent (21 of 50).
The series: UCLA leads the all-time series 49-37, and the Bruins have an 11-10 edge over the Wildcats during head coach Ben Howland's tenure. The teams split two regular-season meetings last year -- each winning at home -- but Arizona won the rubber match 66-58 in the Pac-12 tournament. UCLA's last victory at the McKale Center came in 2008.
Fast fact: The loser of this game will fall two games behind Pac-12 leader Oregon (16-2, 5-0) in the loss column. Considering both teams have already lost to Oregon and neither will play the Ducks again, a loss and the resulting two-game deficit may spell the end of conference title hopes for the losing team.