For The Title?!

March 2, 2001

LOS ANGELES (AP)- Stanford has revenge on its mind and a conference title in its sites.

The No. 1 Cardinal can take care of both on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion whenthey visit No. 12 UCLA in a Pac-10 showdown.

Stanford (26-1, 14-1) leads UCLA (20-6, 13-2) by one game in the conferencestandings, with Arizona another game back. The Cardinal can clinch a share ofthe title and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but that's nottheir only business in Los Angeles.

The Cardinal also will look to avenge their only loss of the season. Theysuffered a 79-73 loss at home on Feb. 3 - the second straight season that UCLAupset a No. 1 Stanford team.

'We can clinch at least a co-Pac-10 championship on Saturday, and we owethose guys something,' Stanford's Ryan Mendez said.

The Cardinal got their weekend off to a good start by holding off SouthernCalifornia 70-68 on Thursday night. Casey Jacobsen scored 22 points to leadStanford, which is seeking its third straight conference crown.

'If we win on Saturday, it means we had a good weekend down here,' guardMichael McDonald said. 'A split does nothing for us in terms of the Pac-10championship, we didn't come down here for a split.'

The Cardinal would wrap up the Pac-10's automatic bid with a win Saturdaybecause of their sweep of California. It would also virtually ensure coach MikeMontgomery's team of a top seed in the NCAA tournament.

But UCLA is still in the hunt for its 24th Pac-10 title, and the Bruins havebeen one of the hottest teams in the country after a shaky start.

UCLA has won eight straight games following a 79-75 win over California onThursday. Earl Watson scored 20 points and Dan Gadzuric pulled down 11 reboundsas the Bruins continued their torrid run following a disappointing 6-4 start tothe season.

'The Pac-10 championship is coming through Westwood,' Watson said. 'A lotof times people don't steal, they take. I don't want them to take mychampionship.'

A victory by the Bruins would be their ninth over the No. 1 team in thecountry, equaling Notre Dame's record.

Stanford closes the regular season next weekend by playing host to Arizonaand Arizona State, while UCLA visits Washington State and Washington.

Stanford has won the last three meetings at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA leads theall-time series 123-80.

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