The biggest game of the entire Pac-12 slate has finally arrived after a four-week delay, pitting the Bruins and Wildcats against each other amid the fans' return to Pauley Pavilion.
WHO: UCLA vs. Arizona
DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 25
TIME: 8 p.m. PT
LOCATION: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: ESPN – Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst), Molly McGrath (sideline)
STREAMING: fuboTV – Get 7-day Free Trial
RADIO: AM 570, Sirius Ch. 81, XM Ch. 81, SXM App Ch. 81 – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SPREAD: Arizona -2 (-118), UCLA +2 (-110)*
MONEY LINE: Arizona (-150), UCLA (+115)*
OVER/UNDER: O 152.5 (-118), U 152.5 (-110)*
UCLA is the No. 7 team in the country according to both the AP Poll and No. 8 according to the USA Today Coaches Poll. Arizona is No. 3 in both polls, rising up from being unranked to start the year and finally leapfrogging into the top spot in the Pac-12 last week.
The latest KenPom ratings have the Bruins at No. 13 and the Wildcats at No. 2, while the NET Rankings slot UCLA in at No. 16 and Colorado at No. 1.
UCLA has gotten off to a 13-2 start to this season, losing to then-No. 1 Gonzaga after opening the season 5-0, then recovering with a road win over UNLV, a home win against Colorado and a road win over Marquette before a 26-day COVID-19 hiatus. The Bruins returned to action with a 96-78 win over Long Beach State and home, then went up to Cal and beat the Golden Bears 60-52.
The return to play, pursuit of a conference title and journey to a No. 1 seed hit a bump in the road on Jan. 13, though, as UCLA lost to Oregon at home in overtime 84-81, but it got back on track with an 81-65 win over Oregon State on Jan. 15. The next close call came in the form of a 63-58 win over Utah, followed by a tight 71-65 victory over Colorado.
The Bruins are averaging 78.8 points per game and allowing 66.1. Just looking at conference play, UCLA boasts the second-best scoring defense in the conference, the most steals per game and the most free throw attempts per game, but they rank in the bottom three in 3-point shooting, rebounds and assists.
Guard Johnny Juzang is UCLA's top scorer so far this season with 18.3 points per game, while guard Jules Bernard, guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. and guard Tyger Campbell are averaging 13.0, 12.9 and 11.5 a night, respectively. Campbell has the most assists per game with 4.3, and center Myles Johnson is leading the team with 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
After opening the season with 11-0 with a defining neutral site win over then-No. 4 Michigan and a big road win at Illinois, the Wildcats finally met their match on the road against then-No. 19 Tennessee. That four-point loss didn't slow Arizona down much, though, as they have won five in a row since with all of those wins coming by at least 16 points.
The Wildcats are averaging 88.7 points per game and allowing 64.4. Just looking at conference play, Arizona boasts the top scoring offense with the most rebounds, assists, 3-pointers made, field goal percentage and blocks per game in the Pac-12.
Guard Bennedict Mathurin is leading Arizona with 17.5 points per game while nearing 50/40/80 shooting splits and also hauling in over six boards a game. Between Mathrun, forward Azuolas Tubelis and center Christian Koloko, the Wildcats boast scoring, strength and athleticism arguably unmatched across the country, and the trio has combined to averaged 45.8 points, 19.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 4.6 blocks and 2.9 steals per game so far this season.
Cronin is now in his 19th season as a head coach, and he has an all-time record of 419-195 with 12 NCAA tournament appearances across stints at Murray State, Cincinnati and UCLA. Tommy Lloyd is in his first season as a head coach after spending 20 years as an assistant at Gonzaga under Mark Few.
UCLA is 59-42 all-time against Arizona, and the Bruins have won all four of the head-to-head matchups since Cronin arrived in Westwood.
*Odds via SI Sportsbook