Wildcats looking for revenge against No. 12 UCLA
With just one chance left to impress the NCAA selection committee, the UA men's basketball team is treating tomorrow's matchup against the UCLA Bruins like the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"The winner of this game, I assume, would be a three seed," UA head coach Lute Olson said. "This is like the start of the NCAA Tournament as far as we're concerned and I'm sure they feel the same way."
No. 13 Arizona vs. No. 12 UCLA
(21-6, 12-5 Pac-10) (22-7, 12-5)
Tipoff: Tomorrow afternoon at 1:37 at McKale Center
Radio/TV: Televised nationally on ABC; Broadcast on KNST (790 AM)
Game Notes: This will be the last home game for Jason Terry, A.J. Bramlett and Jason Stewart. . .UA has a 31-game home winning streak. . .Since losing freshman center Dan Gadzuric to a knee injury, the Bruins have held opponents to 33 percent (35-105) field goal shooting. . .UCLA's full court press helped forced a combined 61 turnovers in wins over Washington (79-62) and Washington State (100-61) last weekend. . .the winner of this game will own sole possession of second place in the Pac-10.
The No. 13 Wildcats (21-6, 12-5 Pacific 10 Conference) snapped a two game losing streak with an 88-73 win over Southern Cal last night and will take on the No. 12 Bruins (22-7, 12-5) in a game for second place in the Pac-10 tomorrow at McKale Center starting at 1:30 p.m.
UCLA was thought to have suffered a major blow when they lost freshman center Dan Gadzuric to a torn meniscus in his left knee Feb. 24, but have won three straight games since then, including a 68-65 win over Arizona State last night in Tempe.
In the Bruins' first game without Gadzuric, who was averaging 8.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, four UCLA players matched their career-highs in points in a 100-61 victory over Washington State. The Bruins have also used a tenacious full-court press, forcing 61 turnovers in the sweep of Washington State and Washington. The Washington schools combined for a 33 percent field goal shooting performance, hitting only 35 of 105 attempted shots.
In last night's victory over ASU, in which Baron Davis and Earl Watson combined for 35 of the Bruins' 68 points, UCLA held the Sun Devils to only 36 percent field goal shooting and forced 14 turnovers.
UA head coach Lute Olson said Richard Jefferson and Ruben Douglas would be instrumental in Arizona's ability to handle the 40-minute long full-court press UCLA employs.
"How we do Saturday and how we do next week (in the NCAA Tournament) will depend on how those guys on the wings do," Olson said. "The key to beating pressure is spacing and if one guy isn't where he needs to be, that's a problem."
Many of the Wildcats are still angry about the Bruins' attitudes after their 82-75 win over Arizona in the first game of the conference season.
"(UCLA freshman) Jaron Rush said if he had played, they would have beaten us by 30," senior point guard Jason Terry said. "Right after he told me that I said I wish we could play tomorrow."
F 44 Richard Jefferson
F 21 Michael Wright
C 42 A.J. Bramlett
G 5 Ruben Douglas
G 31 Jason Terry
F 4 Jaron Rush
F 30 Sean Farnham
C 00 Jerome Moiso
G 25 Earl Watson
G 5 Baron Davis
Rush will most likely be matched up against Jefferson, who says he has been looking forward to a rematch since early January.
"I've been waiting for this game since the last USC game," Jefferson said. "The UCLA game, I was really disappointed with my performance. There's a lot of talking going on out there, good and bad."
With only 6-foot-10 Jerome Moiso, who suffers from sore arches in both feet, left in the post for the Bruins after Gadzuric's injury, Arizona should be able to pound the ball inside to A.J. Bramlett, Michael Wright and Eugene Edgerson.
"We feel like we have a strength advantage inside and we need to take advantage of that," Olson said.