UCLA clinches No. 2 seed in Pac-12 Tournament

UCLA hasn’t played yet this week, but games elsewhere in the Pac-12 sealed the Bruins a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. The team will start its Las Vegas schedule with a 6 p.m. tipoff on Pac-12 Networks next Thursday.

Colorado helped UCLA by beating Stanford, 59-56, Wednesday night and knocking the Cardinal to 9-8 in league play. Arizona State also fell out of the race for second one night prior with a loss to Oregon.

The Buffaloes and Sun Devils are sitting at 10-7, leaving them 1.5 games behind the Bruins. Even if UCLA loses to both Washington and Washington State to end the season, it would head head-to-head tiebreakers against both in the event of a three-way tie.

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Short-handed UCLA falls short of Pac-12 tourney title

Without shooting guard Jordan Adams, UCLA couldn’t do enough to beat Oregon for the Pac-12 tournament championship. As Adams sat at the end of the bench with a broken right foot, the Bruins lost 78-69 and failed to put together one strong, late rally.

UCLA cut the Ducks’ to two points with 12 minutes left to go on a 3-pointer by Larry Drew II, but proceeded to give up a 6-0 run over the next 90 seconds. It went the rest of the way down between six and 12 points — save for a 19-second stretch that saw the deficit shrink to four.

Oregon won its first tournament title since 2007. No team has won both the regular-season and tournament championships since the Bruins did so in 2008.

– UCLA’s seed for the NCAA tournament will likely drop due to Adams’ absence. The NCAA selection committee often account for injuries in their decision, and the Bruins being without their second-leading scorer could weigh heavily. In 2000, top-ranked Cincinnati missed out on a No. 1 seed when Kenyon Martin broke his leg. In 2009, St. Mary’s missed the tournament despite 26 wins because point guard Patty Mills hadn’t shaken off rust after breaking his hand. Continue reading

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Halftime update: Oregon 41, UCLA 32

UCLA got burned from outside as Jonathan Loyd, Damyean Dotson and Carlos Emory combined for a ridiculous 78 shooting percentage from 3-point range. The trio has 35 of Oregon’s 41 points, and the Ducks have found a groove after coughing the ball up eight times in the first eight minutes. The Bruins are shooting 32 percent from the field as star Shabazz Muhammad opens the game with another slow start. The freshman has just three points on 1-of-3 shooting, and was hit with a questionable charge call that had Ben Howland tossing his suit jacket off in anger.

Travis Wear leads the team with eight points and five rebounds. Point guard Larry Drew II also looks much better on offense after going scoreless against Arizona’s Nick Johnson. He has seven points on 3-of-5 shooting and four assists.

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Bruins treating Vegas as business trip

For two decades, the Big East has staged one of college basketball’s biggest events: a raucous celebration of the sport in its mecca. Could the Pac-12 one day compare?

UCLA coach Ben Howland was enthusiastic about his current conference’s decision to move its postseason tourney to Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, comparing its potential to that of the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden. He led Pitt to victory in that competition in 2003, shortly began coaching the the Bruins.

“People love to go to Vegas,” Howland said. “It’s gonna be happening. This ticket, in this league, three years from now, will be one of the most difficult tickets in the country to get. That’s what you have to have. Continue reading

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UCLA women fall to Stanford in Pac-12 finals

The UCLA women’s basketball team lost to Stanford in the Pac-12 final Saturday evening. If you consider that the Cardinal secured their seventh straight tournament title, the outcome doesn’t seem that surprising.

But what will sting the Bruins is how close they came to pulling off their biggest upset of the year, a 51-49 decision that was a missed Markel Walker layup away from overtime. The team retained possession with 0.2 seconds left on the clock, but couldn’t get a shot off. Continue reading

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Pac-12 Tournament seeds

The final Pac-12 tournament seeds:
1. UCLA (23-8, 13-5)
2. Cal (20-10, 12-6)
3. Oregon (23-8, 12-6)
4. Arizona (24-6, 12-6)
5. Colorado (20-10, 10-8)
6. Washington (17-14, 9-9)
7. USC (14-17, 9-9)
8. Stanford (18-13, 9-9)
9. Arizona State (20-11, 9-9)
10. Utah (13-17, 5-13)
11. Washington State (13-18, 4-14)
12. Oregon State (14-17, 4-14)

Here are the tiebreaker rules. The Bruins will play noon Thursday on the Pac-12 Network against the winner of the Stanford-Arizona State game (noon Wednesday). You can find ticket information at the official tournament page.

The full bracket after the jump, clipped from Pac-12.com. Continue reading

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New uniforms won’t be worn in NCAAs

Adidas’ new Zubaz-inspired uniforms may be a sartorial abomination, but at least they won’t be around for too long. UCLA head coach Ben Howland said the new sleeved jerseys and accompanying shorts won’t be worn in the NCAA tournament. The Bruins will wear them at least once in the Pac-12 tournament.

Howland was surprised that even the Wall Street Journal chimed in, but said the players loved them: “They’re so excited to wear those. They’re so happy. They can’t wait.” He might be overblowing the reaction; walk-on Nick Kazemi, for one, is still undecided.

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