If Washington State is going to pick up its first Pac-12 sweep since the 2011-12 season this year, it will have to happen on Saturday.
The Cougars have lost to every conference opponent they'll see twice this year except the Bruins. The good news for WSU is that its young team should play better in the second half of Pac-12 play, and can maybe sneak out of the No. 12 seed come Pac-12 tournament time, particularly if it can beat Arizona State at home.
For now, though, WSU can do itself a big favor if it can once again knock down a slumping Bruins team two days after a last-second UCLA loss against Washington. Although this time around UCLA is not coming off a multiple-overtime game, the Bruins were lethargic in the first half against the Huskies.
Now that UCLA's chances of an NCAA tournament berth are growing dim, perhaps the Cougars can jump on the Bruins early and build a lead to sustain them the rest of the way.
Here's a quick look at the Bruins:
Record: 12-9, 3-5 Pac-12
Points per game: 83.7
Opponent points per game: 78.1
Field goal percentage: 46.1
3-point percentage: 36.6
Free throw percentage: 69.7
Rebounding margin: +4.4
Steals per game: 5.2
Blocks per game: 3.2
And here are some more detailed statistics, courtesy of KenPom.com.
Adjusted efficiency national rank out of 351 schools (offense/defense): 30/156
Adjusted tempo national rank: 133
Average possession length: 16.4 seconds (No. 89 nationally)
Turnover percentage: 17.6 (No. 120)
Offensive rebound percentage: 35.4 (No. 35)
2-point percentage: 49.4 (No. 134)
Block percentage: 7.9 (No. 224)
FT Rate: 35.5 (No. 199)
Opponent FT rate: 32.8 (No. 89)
So who will win? KenPom gives UCLA an 82 percent chance of winning and predicts a final margin of 84-74.
G: Bryce Alford 17.2 ppg, 5.3 apg, 37.7, 44 made 3-pointers (37.3 percent)
G: Isaac Hamilton 16.3 ppg, 3.2 apg, 39.4 3FG%
G: Aaron Holiday 11.1 ppg, 3.8 apg, 42.6 3FG%
F: Thomas Welsh 12.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 59.8 FG%
F: Tony Parker 13.5 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 53.2 FG%