Pac-12 Tournament: UCLA Basketball vs. Arizona – More Than Bragging Rights

Feb 25, 2017; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Kobi Simmons (2) defends UCLA Bruins guard Lonzo Ball (2) during the second half at McKale Center. UCLA won 77-72. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2017; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Kobi Simmons (2) defends UCLA Bruins guard Lonzo Ball (2) during the second half at McKale Center. UCLA won 77-72. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Arizona and UCLA Basketball teams have revived their epic rivalry this season, which culminates with a meeting in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.

The UCLA Basketball team has 10 more National Championships than Arizona, though the Wildcats have been the team to beat in the Pac-12 for quite a while. Still, the Bruins hold the lead in the overall series, 56-41. This relationship is what rivals call “bitter”.

While both Arizona and UCLA strive for success, they often go up against each other in those attempts. When they meet up, it is usually an all-out battle.

Though Arizona has been more successful in recent seasons, this year has turged up the heat in the rivalry which should keep the blood boiling for the next few seasons.

Related Story: Steve Alford, The REAL Pac-12 Coach of the Year

Things started in January when the Wildcats visited the Bruins in Pauley Pavilion. Though UCLA is very good at home, they ran into a wall in the shape of Arizona. The Wildcats embarrassed UCLA at home, but there would be another chance to make things right for the Bruins.

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At the end of last month, UCLA buried Arizona in Tucson behind a strong second half which left the defeated Arizona team dumbfounded. Arizona has won all of their games since then, but UCLA has a more impressive streak going with 10-straight wins.

But the comparisons don’t stop here as there are similarities on an individual level.

Several Bruins and Wildcats, were named to Pac-12 post season honors which included Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford, Lauri Markkanen, Kadeem Allen and Allonzo Trier as All-Pac-12 selections. Ball was also named Freshman of the Year.

Sean Miller was named Coach of the Year, though it could be argued that Steve Alford deserved it more as he had a terrific turnaround this season after last year’s 15–17 performance.

These two team are nearly identical, which makes this a very interesting matchup. The winner, obviously, gets bragging rights, but they also get a shot at the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. Along with that, they are also still alive for a #2 (or possibly a #1) seed.

Next: UCLA Basketball: 5 Most memorable Pac-12 Tournament Games Under Alford

The winner takes all. The loser goes home empty-handed and has to wait to hear their called during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, possibly slotted as a #3 team. So yes, this game has a lot riding on it and it will be a battle of epic proportions.