UCLA will open its Las Vegas schedule against a red-hot Oregon team that has won eight straight games. If nothing else, the matchup between the Pac-12′s two top offenses could result in the most entertaining game yet at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Here are five key questions heading into Thursday’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal.
1. How will Jordan Adams play? UCLA’s top scorer has run hot and cold this season, most recently following up a career-high 31 points against Washington with seven against Washington State.
The sophomore’s point totals have ebbed and flowed along with the Bruins’ wins and losses. Continue reading →
UCLA will open the Pac-12 Tournament against Oregon, setting up a rubber match on Thursday after a split regular-season series.
The Ducks earned a spot in the 6 p.m. quarterfinal after putting on an offensive clinic against Oregon State on Wednesday night. The conference’s most prolific offense had a 21-4 run in the first half, and a 17-2 run in the second. It shot 80 percent after halftime, outscoring the Beavers 47-34.
Dana Altman got 46 points off his bench, with 27 coming from Jason Calliste and Dominic Artis. The latter had arguably his best game of the season, notching a 10 points and a season-high six assists.
With 1:01 left on the game clock, UCLA was down seven points and missing its two best players.
The Bruins clawed their way through 11 more minutes, eventually falling 87-83 to Oregon in double overtime. Along the way, they left fans with arguably the most memorable game of the season.
Three hours before the 8 p.m. tipoff, the team had announced the suspensions of point guard Kyle Anderson and leading scorer Jordan Adams.
With little time the prepare, UCLA (21-7, 10-5) went almost the entire first half without an inside bucket and walked into the locker room in a 12-point hole.
No matter. With 1.2 seconds left in regulation, David Wear snuck behind the Ducks’ defense and streaked upcourt for a wide-open three. He caught an inbounds pass from his twin brother, Travis, and drilled a shot from some 30 feet away. Continue reading →
UCLA’s Thursday trip to Oregon will pit the Bruins against the team most capable of matching their pace. The Ducks are 21st in the country in adjusted tempo, second in the conference to Steve Alford’s squad (15th).
“They play a lot of guards,” Alford said. “They usually have four guards in their lineup. Sometimes it looks like they have five guards in their lineup. … Our transition defense is going to come to a test.”
Oregon, which has lost four of their last five, rank 15th in adjusted offense — five spots above UCLA — but rank 130th in adjusted defense. Only Washington and Oregon State are worse in the Pac-12.
Four-star safety Budda Baker has decommitted from Oregon, opening up the possibility that UCLA adds another defensive back to its 2014 class.
Baker had Washington and the Bruins as his two other finalists before announcing for the Ducks last month. He played with UCLA linebacker Myles Jack at Bellevue High, and actually helped Jack with his pass coverage last summer. Continue reading →