Top-Seeded UCLA Sets Its Sight on Another Title

March 12, 2008


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DATE: Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008
SITE: Staples Center (18,997)
TIP-OFF: 2:30 p.m. PT
TALENT: Ted Robinson (play-by-play) and Marques Johnson (analyst)
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play) and Isaac Lowenkron (analyst)
PAC-10 TOURNEY RECORD: 10-8 (.556)

• Michael Roll reruptured his plantar fascia in his left foot on Dec. 31 and will likely redshirt the season. He has missed 25 of the Bruins' 31 games this season.

• Nikola Dragovic strained his left groin in practice on Feb. 25 and was questionable for the Bruins' game at Arizona State on Feb. 28, but played the final three minutes of the 70-49 UCLA victory, grabbing one rebound. He has not played in the Bruins' last three games (coaches decision).

The 30-time conference champion UCLA Bruins enter as the top seed in the 2008 Pacific Life Pac-10 Conference Tournament. Twice UCLA has entered the Pac-10 Tournament as the number one seed and went on to win the title (1987 and 2006). However, the Bruins entered as the top seed last year and lost 76-69 in overtime to California in the quarterfinals. Darren Collison led the Bruins with 20 points while Josh Shipp chipped in 19 points. Ayinde Ubaka led California with 29 points followed by Ryan Anderson's 18 points and eight rebounds. In 2006, UCLA breezed to the title, posting three wins by an average of 21 points a game. The top-seeded Bruins opened with a 79-47 win over eighth-seeded Oregon State in the quarterfinals, then posted a 71-59 victory over fourth-seeded Arizona in the semifinals. The Bruins defeated third-seeded California 71-52 in the title game. UCLA sports an all-time record of 10-8 (.556) in the Pac-10 Tournament. Head Coach Ben Howland is 3-3 in the Pac-10 Tournament.

Josh Shipp became the 47th player in UCLA history to score 1,000 points in a career at California (Jan. 5, 2008). He now has 1,189 career points (37th place).

Darren Collison became the 48th player in UCLA history to score 1,000 points in a career with 24 points vs. #7 Stanford (Mar. 6, 2008). He now has 1,024 career points (46th place).

UCLA has been ranked in the top 10 in the Associated Press poll for 39 straight weeks, which is tied with North Carolina for the longest active streak in the country. Kansas is third with 31 straight weeks, followed by Memphis with 25 consecutive weeks. Duke rounds out the top five with 16 straight weeks in the top 10. All streaks include final and preseason polls.

There are 21 players in NCAA Division 1 (328 teams) that average a double-double, but only two of them are freshmen (UCLA's Kevin Love and Kansas State's Michael Beasley). Love is averaging 17.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game (ranks eighth nationally). Beasley is averaging 26.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game (leads the nation).

There are eight freshmen that rank among the top 100 in the nation in scoring, but only UCLA's Kevin Love has scored in double figures in every game.

UCLA has held 17 opponents to fewer than 60 points this season and is undefeated when doing so. Additionally, the Bruins have held 62 opponents under 60 points during the Ben Howland era (fifth season) and are 60-2 (.968) in those games (both of the losses were in his first year, 2003-04).

UCLA possesses one of the best frontcourts in the nation. Lindy's magazine rated the Bruins' frontcourt No. 1 in the country during the preseason. Starting center Kevin Love averages 17.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game while starting forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute contributes 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Backup center Lorenzo Mata-Real is sixth in Pac-10 in blocks per game (1.1). The frontcourt has combined to record 25 double-doubles on the year and all three aforementioned Bruins have at least one double-double this season. The Bruins' starting frontcourt has outscored the opposition in 26-of-31 games, going 24-2 when it does so. The five times the Bruins' frontcourt was outscored was vs. #8 Texas (28-25), vs. USC (34-21), at Arizona (42-40), vs. #7 Stanford (36-34) and vs. California (48-24).

UCLA also possesses one of the best backcourts in the nation. Lindy's magazine rated the Bruins' backcourt No. 6 in the country during the preseason. All three of the starting guards (Darren Collison, 14.6 ppg; Josh Shipp, 13.2 ppg and Russell Westbrook, 12.8 ppg) average double figures in scoring. All three are in the top 10 in the Pac-10 in steals while Collison and Westbrook are in the top five in the league in assists. The Bruins' starting backcourt has outscored the opposition in 28-of-31 games, going 26-2 when it does so. The three times the Bruins' backcourt was outscored was vs. Youngstown State (21-20); vs. Texas (33-30) and vs. Washington State (37-32).