The UCLA Bruins (21-5, 10-3) and the Stanford Cardinal (17-8, 8-5) are going to go at it on this fateful Saturday in February. Five games remain in the conference season for both teams and it looks like it is coming down to the wire for both.
Location: Maples Pavilion, Stanford, CA
Tip-Off: 3:00 p.m. PT/6:00 p.m. ET
Preview: UCLA rolls into Stanford after annihilating the California Golden Bears basketball program in one single swoop. The Bruins are on a four game winning streak, which is propelling them into an undoubtedly significant late-season run.
Here’s the thing though, this game is a big question mark in terms of consistency for the Bruins. The two previous 2-game road trips that the Bruins have been on, have ended in losses. This game against Stanford is the second in a 2-game road trip. Awkward.
Previously, we have talked about how the Bruins are on two different trends. The first is the two-game road trip that starts in a win and ends in a loss. The second is the fact that UCLA is having significantly better second-halves then first halves, as of late.
So that gives this game at Maples Pavilion a lot of clout, doesn’t it? With that, we also have to ask the question, which one will prevail?
Well, let us take a couple things into consideration. Stanford has won 7 of their last 10 games. They have won 4 of 6 at home in conference, with two losses being against (then) #1 Arizona and Cal. But then again, they did beat Cal in Berkeley, so I think that one washes out. Still, is that enough to slow down, nay, stop the surging the Bruins?
UCLA has had decent first halves followed by phenomenal second halves in the last four games. Coaching and player adjustments have been stong for UCLA. In the last game against Cal, the Bruins seemed to roll from the beginning, which helped them wholly to succeed in the end. Chances are, this is a sign of an improving UCLA squad. Still, you cannot put out of your mind that UCLA has done horribly in the second of 2-game conference road trips.
But maybe the Bruins know this too. Maybe they are ready for this. No matter what happens, this is a big game for both teams. For Stanford, it is a chance to get into that coveted Top 4 for the Pac-12 tournament (all of which get a first-round bye). For UCLA, it just very well may be their ticket to a higher seed in the NCAA tournament.
We’ll find out at 3:00 p.m. PT, now won’t we?
Prediction: UCLA 82 – Stanford 75