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Friday, January 25, 2013
First look: UCLA at Arizona State

By Peter Yoon

What: UCLA Bruins (16-4, 6-1) at Arizona State Sun Devils (15-4, 4-2)

When: Saturday, 1 p.m. PT

Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.

TV: Fox Sports Net

Radio: AM 570

Scouting the Bruins: UCLA has won 10 of its past 11, including an 84-73 upset at No. 6 Arizona on Thursday to improve to 3-0 on the road this season. In that game, the Bruins made a concerted effort to crash the boards and outrebounded the Wildcats, 45-44. UCLA had been out-boarded in six of its previous seven games, and Arizona leads the Pac-12 in rebounding margin, so the focus on the glass paid off. The Bruins remain one game behind Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and must avoid a letdown after their big upset in order to keep pace with the Ducks. Forward Travis Wear, UCLA's third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, left Thursday’s game with concussion symptoms and his status is still up in the air. Freshmen Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams, the team’s top two scorers, got back on track Thursday after going through mini-slumps. Muhammad had 23 points on 50 percent shooting against Arizona, after averaging 12.8 on 40.4 percent shooting in the previous four games. Adams, who had only nine points on 1-of-12 shooting in two games last week, scored 15 on 6-of-12 shots against the Wildcats.

Scouting the Sun Devils: After a hot start that had Arizona State in the Pac-12 title race early on, the Sun Devils have come back to earth a bit with two losses in their past three games. They were 14-2 just two weeks ago, before facing Oregon and Arizona -- two of the conference’s top teams -- and dropping both games. The Sun Devils needed overtime to defeat USC on Thursday and get rewarded with another conference front-runner. Arizona State is 12-2 at home. Freshman guard Jahii Carson leads the team and is fifth in the conference in scoring with 17.5 points per game, and leads the conference in minutes played at 36.4 per game. He’s averaging 20.8 points and five assists over the past four games. Senior forward Carrick Felix is averaging 14.6 points and junior guard Evan Gordon is averaging 11.1 for the Sun Devils, who are second in the Pac-12 with a 46.1 shooting percentage. Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 center, is a force in the middle with 4.21 blocked shots per game. Bachynski, who also averages 9.9 points and 6.9 rebounds, ranks fourth in the nation in blocks.

The series: UCLA leads the series, 61-17. The Bruins have won four in a row over the Sun Devils and are 14-3 against them during coach Ben Howland’s tenure. Last season, UCLA won 75-58 at home and 66-57 in Tempe.

Quick quote: "He’s an outstanding playmaker. He is a big-time athlete. Very quick. Fast, scores it -- a great penetrator. As quick as anybody we’ve seen all year or will see all year.” -- UCLA coach Ben Howland, on Jahii Carson