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Video credit: Pac-12 Networks
Scouting report: UCLA
Game info: 6 p.m. Thursday at Pauley Pavilion (13,800 capacity).
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch and Bill Walton).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Ben Howland is 224-103 (.685) in his 10th season with the Bruins and 392-202 (.660) in 18 years a Division I head coach. He’s guided UCLA to six NCAA tournament appearances and three Final Fours. Prior to joining the Bruins in 2003, he spent four seasons (1999-2003) at Pittsburgh where he had an 89-40 (.690) record. He also made two trips to the NCAA tourney and a pair of Sweet 16 appearances with the Panthers. Howland coached five seasons (1994-99) at Northern Arizona where he was 79-59 (.572) and made one NCAA tourney appearance.
Prediction: Picked to finish second in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: UCLA leads 90-42 in a series that began Dec. 30, 1936. The Huskies are 7-60 in Pauley Pavilion. UW coach Lorenzo Romar, a former Bruins assistant from 1993-96, is 2-8 against UCLA in Los Angeles and 11-10 all-time. Howland is 7-12 against the Huskies.
Last meeting: UCLA won 75-60, which snapped a four-game losing streak to Washington. The Huskies received tremendous production from its backcourt. C.J. Wilcox scored a game-high 22 points, Terrence Ross added 18, Tony Wroten Jr. had 14 and Abdul Gaddy finished with a career-high 12 assists. The Huskies led 47-44 at halftime. The game was tied 69-69 with 1:18 left when David Wear sank the go-ahead basket. Trailing by two with 14 seconds remaining, Washington had a chance to tie or take the lead. However, Darnell Gant missed a three-pointer. UCLA made four straight free throws capping a 6-0 run to finish the game. Lazeric Jones scored 20 points for the Bruins.
Previous game: UCLA lost 75-71 in overtime to USC on Jan. 30.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Freshman Shabazz Muhammad (right) is considered a top three NBA draft prospect by according Draft Express while NBAdraft.net while believes he’ll be taken fifth overall. He’s a versatile scorer who compares favorably NBA All-Star James Harden. Given the hype and fanfare surrounding the Muhammad, a 6-6 guard, it’s likely this will be his only season with UCLA.
He leads the Bruins with 18.4 points per game, which is the second-highest scoring average among
all Pac-12 players,
Muahammad has thrived despite constant scrutiny and setbacks. He missed the first three games while the NCAA conducted a months long investigation to review possible recruiting violations. Once cleared and eligible to play, he admitted he was out of shape and over weight, which contributed to UCLA’s 2-3 record in the first games with their star player.
UCLA won the next 10 games thanks in large part to Muhammad who averaged 19.6 points during the span. He back-to-back 27-point outings and tallied at least 20 points six times.
Then came Gucci-gate and a nasty bout with the flu that nearly forced him to miss last week’s game against USC. He sat out practice Tuesday and appears as if he’ll play tonight. Muhammad is a dynamic scorer and UCLA is 8-1 when he scored at least 20 points. However, he doesn’t do much on the defensive end and he’s not much of a playmaker.
— Jordan Adams was the least heralded of the touted Fab Four class, but he made the biggest impact early on. With Muhammad out, he scored 21, 26 and 25 points. During Muhammad’s debut, Adams nearly stole the show while scoring 22 points in a loss to Georgetown. He’s the first UCLA player to begin his college career with four consecutive 20-point outings. Adams averages 15.2 points, which is seventh in the Pac-12.
— Nicknamed “Slo-Mo” freshman Kyle Anderson plays at a deliberate pace that’s deceptive and difficult to defend. He’s not overly athletic or quick, but he’s long and crafty. At 6-9, he’s an extremely polished playmaker and passer who averages 3.6 assists. On most team’s he would be the primary ball handler, but UCLA needs him to play in the post and he’s responded by leading the team with a 9.0 rebounding average. He also averages 9.4 points. Anderson also has 38 steals, which ranks sixth in the Pac-12 and he’s logged six double-doubles. He’s also considered a NBA prospect who could bolt after one season with the Bruins.
— After winning 10 in a row and rising to No. 24 in the Associated Press rankings, UCLA has lost three of the past four games.
— The Bruins haven’t played since Jan. 30. It’s their longest layoff of the season.
— Here’s video of a renovated Pauley Pavilion. The $136 million makeover increased capacity by 1,000 seats and window-less original design has been replaced with a mostly glass exterior.
— Many believed Howland began the season on the hot seat after failing to qualify for the postseason last season for the second time in three years. He came under fire after a Sports Illustrated expose portrayed a team that was seemingly lacking discipline. The recent defections of Joshua Smith, who transferred to UCLA, and Tyler Lamb, who left for Long Beach State, added to the belief of the dysfunction at UCLA.
— UCLA leads the Pac-12 in scoring averaging 76.8 points. However, the Bruins are 11th in scoring defense allowing 69.2 points per game.
— Senior Larry Drew II leads the Pac-12 and ranks third nationally with an 8.0 assists average. It’s an astonishing feat. He’s logged at least eight assists in 15 of 22 games and has committed two or fewer turnovers in 18 contests. Drew is the only Bruin to start every game this season. He played his first three seasons at North Carolina before transferring and sitting out last season.
— Junior Travis Wear ranks third on the team with 12.4 ppg and leads UCLA with a 53.0 field goal percentage (107-202).
— UCLA uses primarily an eight-man rotation, including sophomore guard Normal Powell, junior forward David Wear and freshman center Tony Parker.
— The late Don Barksdale will have his No. 11 jersey retired at halftime. He is one of three former UCLA stars to be honored with a jersey retirement this season – Jamaal Wilkes’ No. 52 was retired Jan. 17, and Reggie Miller’s No. 31 jersey was retired Jan. 30. Barksdale was the first African-American to earn All-America honors at UCLA (1947) and the first to capture an Olympic basketball gold medal (1948).
— The lineup (below) has started 15 games and posted a 13-2 record.
C – Travis Wear, 6-10, 230, Jr. 12.4 ppg., 5.7 rpg., 82.4 FT%
F – Kyle Anderson, 6-9, 235, Fr., 9.4, 9.0, 3.6 apg.
G – Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6, 225, Fr., 14.9, 8.3, 1o7 FTA
G – Jordan Adams, 6-5, 187, Fr., 15.2, 4.0, 1.9 spg.
G – Larry Drew III, 6-2, 180, Sr., 6.3, 2.9, 8.0 apg.