Bilas: Drew should be Pac-12 POY

Looks like ESPN College GameDay was memorable for Jay Bilas. The network’s analyst, who was in town last Saturday for UCLA’s win over Arizona, has pegged Bruin point guard Larry Drew II as his choice for Pac-12 Player of the Year.

His full comments, which start at 1:39 in the above video: Continue reading

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Anderson named Pac-12 Player of the Week

After helping UCLA to a weekend sweep over ASU and Arizona, Kyle Anderson was rewarded with his first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.

The freshman point forward scored a career-high 21 against the Sun Devils, grabbing 15 boards for his eighth double-double of the season. He’s in the midst of his most productive offensive stretch yet, averaging 16.5 points and 11 rebounds over his last four games. Anderson has also totaled 14 assists, six blocks and six steals in those outings.

Freshman swingman Shabazz Muhammad was also named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Dec. 31, the only other Bruin to do so this season.

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Weekly Q&A — 3/2/13 Answers

Q: Larry Scott has been very active since becoming commissioner, expanding the conference from ten to twelve, creating the Pac-12 Networks, and bringing a tremendous amount of new revenue to each member school. Any idea that the next big thing from Scott will be?

A: Most pressing is getting a DirecTV deal nailed down, but that’s not exactly a “big thing” so much as a necessary one. Scott has said consistently over the past few months that the conference isn’t looking to expand, so the Pac-12 probably won’t be leading the country into an era of 16-team superconferences. What he might look to do next is push for some significant reform in the NCAA, especially as the institution’s enforcement policies look more and more like a joke. Scott has been candid about the need for change in the past, something he reaffirmed again on Saturday.

Q: What is the latest news on RB Craig Lee commitment status? Also, we heard of the great recruiting class UCLA had this year but did not hear of any high school seniors that flipped their commitment. Were there any? Continue reading

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UCLA 74, Arizona 69: Extra notes

UCLA earned itself a solid 74-69 victory against Arizona Saturday night, a convincing win that keeps the Bruins controlling a share of the Pac-12 lead (game story here). The Bruins also clinched a first-round bye in the conference tournament, and will finish no lower than a third seed. Look for them to finally be ranked again for the first time since January.

Some notes: Continue reading

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Howland on Shabazz: ‘This was his last game at Pauley Pavilion’

Ever since his hype as the nation’s top recruit, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad has been almost universally regarded as a one-and-done — bound for the NBA Draft after his spending a season showing off his wares in college.

After the Bruins beat Arizona 74-69 in their last home game of the season, coach Ben Howland said he expected that to still hold true.

“I’m very much a realist now,” Howland said. “I knew going into this that it was a one-year deal. And it should be. He’s a lottery pick. He’s a top-five pick. When you have that going for you, it is absolutely the right thing for him. That was his last game at Pauley Pavilion, no doubt about it. Continue reading

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FINAL: UCLA 74, Arizona 69

UCLA controlled the entire game, never trailing after three minutes in a 74-69 win that keeps the team in control of its own destiny. Arizona closed to within three points in the final minute, but a clutch rebound by freshman Shabazz Muhammad all but sealed the victory. Muhammad went to the line and sank two free throws to cap the final score, serenaded by “One more year!” cheers as he did.

Muhammad scored a game-high 18 after being limited by foul trouble early, followed closely behind by Kyle Anderson’s 17. Four Bruins scored in double figures.

This is UCLA’s first season sweep over Arizona since 2008. The attendance of 13,727 is a stadium record.

UPDATE: Here’s the game story, as well as Jill Painter’s column on Shabazz Muhammad.

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UCLA vs. Arizona: What to Watch

UCLA (21-7, 11-4) vs. No. 11 Arizona (23-5, 11-5)
Tipoff:
6 p.m., Pauley Pavilion
TV/Radio: ESPN/AM 570

At a glance: Both Arizona and UCLA need a win to boost their chances at a Pac-12 Championship. Oregon currently sits in first place at 12-4, and has road games left against Colorado and Utah. The Ducks, who now have point guard Dominic Artis again, likely won’t drop both.

As it stands, the Bruins can still claim a share of the conference title as long as they win out. Oregon’s head-to-head tiebreaker will give them the top seed in the Pac-12 tournament assuming UCLA finishes with the same record. Continue reading

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UCLA-Arizona game sold out

UCLA’s game against Arizona on Saturday officially sold out this morning, but you can still make the 6 p.m. tipoff if you turn to either Bruin TicketExchange (starting at $115 as of this writing) or Stubhub ($60).

Point guard Larry Drew II will receive a “Senior Night” ceremony prior to tipoff.

ESPN College Gameday also makes its second-ever appearance at Pauley Pavilion after visiting for the Bruins’ 82-60 win over the Wildcats in 2008. Doors open at 5 a.m. and admission is free.

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UCLA vs. ASU: What to Watch

UCLA (20-7, 10-4) vs. ASU (20-8, 9-6)
Tipoff:
8:30 p.m., Pauley Pavilion
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/AM 570

At a glance: UCLA had one of its worst games of the season against Arizona State, a 78-60 laugher in Tempe Tucson that sucked all the goodwill from the Bruins’ upset of Arizona. Many players said they’re still using that game as motivation, similar to the way they did Sunday in avenging their home loss to USC.

ASU has been inconsistent, but needs a win to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. Ben Howland said this week he expects the Sun Devils — projected as one of the last teams out of the field of 68 — to play with that sort of desperate attitude. Continue reading

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