It took UCLA coach Steve Lavin only 11 games to etch his name
into the Bruins' record book. On Jan. 9, 1997, UCLA lost at
Stanford 109-61, the most lopsided defeat in Bruins history.
Lavin's team should make a much more respectable showing this
time around, but a victory will be hard to come by against a
Cardinal team that's setting marks of its own.
With its 84-74 win over California last Saturday, No. 7 Stanford
improved to 14-0, tying a 61-year-old record for the best start
in school history and putting the Cardinal within three
victories of the Stanford consecutive-wins mark. Even without
6'8" sophomore forward Mark Madsen, the Cardinal's
second-leading rebounder, who's out indefinitely with a stress
fracture in his right foot, Stanford is one of the biggest,
deepest and most physical teams in the nation. Twelve players
are averaging at least 10 minutes per game, and thanks to the
likes of 7'1" junior Tim Young (left), 6'7" junior Peter Sauer
and 6'9" senior Pete Van Elswyk, the Cardinal is outrebounding
opponents by better than 11 per game.
The No. 8-ranked Bruins will counter with their sparkling
freshman backcourt duo of Baron Davis and Earl Watson, but they
are also strong up front. Six-foot-10-inch junior center Jelani
McCoy, who returned to action on Dec. 30 following a nine-game
suspension (reportedly, he tested positive for marijuana), is
averaging 10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds as a reserve. When he and
6'8" senior J.R. Henderson--the current front-runner for Pac-10
player of the year--are on the floor together, beating UCLA
inside becomes a very tall order.