Play It Forward: Nov. 28-Dec. 4: UCLA’s first trip to Kentucky could be a wild one

isaiah-briscoe-kentucky-v-ucla-iiwwukctxcjlOur best recollection is that UCLA invited Kentucky to Pauley Pavilion right about this time last season — a first for the Wildcats program. Ranked No. 1 in the country, John Calipari’s team with future NBA first-round picks Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere were then rudely handed a 87-77 loss by the Bruins before 12,202, many of whom streamed onto the court. It felt like some kind of Bruin payback for that 83-44 embarrassment the year before, which wasn’t even that close (UCLA had seven first-half points, remember). Plus, UCLA hadn’t defeated a No. 1 team prior to that since 2003. Thomas Welsh (21 points, 11 rebounds) was the surprising box-score leader, with Bryce Alford adding 15. In the end, that was the highlight of a UCLA season as the team lost eight of its last 10, fell below .500, and watched the Wildcats finish 27-9 before losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
This season, the 6-0 Wildcats are back at No. 1 and the 7-0 Bruins have moved up into the Top 10 after winning the Wooden Legacy and make their first trip to Lexington, Ky. (Saturday, 9:30 a.m., Channel 2, with Brad Nessler and Bill Raftery). Kentucky must first detour through the Bahamas to face Arizona State (Monday, 7 p.m., ESPN2) before taking on UCLA, which has six players averaging in double figures and hasn’t been able to display freshmen T.J. Leaf or Lonzo Ball on the national stage yet. Kentucky’s annual roster turnover sees redshirt freshman guard Malik Monk (18.7 ppg) leading the team in scoring, with freshman Isaiah Briscoe (18.0) battling some back issues.
The rest of the sports week at this link …

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