California (8-4) at UCLA (10-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 11 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: New Pauley Pavilion (13,800) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: FSN. Home Record: Cal 4-3, UCLA 8-1. Away Record: Cal 1-1, UCLA 0-0. Neutral Record: Cal 3-0, UCLA 2-2. Conference Record: Cal 0-0, UCLA 0-0. Series Record: UCLA leads, 133-99.
GAME NOTES: Pac-12 Conference play gets underway on Thursday night for the California Golden Bears and the UCLA Bruins, as the two are set to tip it off at New Pauley Pavilion.
California has dropped four of its last six contests, including a 67-62 home loss to Harvard over the weekend. That game wrapped up a five-game homestand for the Golden Bears, who will play five of their next seven on the road.
UCLA is 8-1 at home and the team has yet to play a true road game this season. The Bruins, winners of five straight, are nearing the end of a six-game homestand. They upset then seventh-ranked Missouri in overtime last Friday, 97-94, marking their first win over a top-10 non-conference foe since Nov. 20, 2007 against Michigan State.
UCLA holds a 133-99 lead in the all-time series, although Cal has won each of the last three meetings.
The Golden Bears tied a school record with 11 blocks last Saturday night, but they were unable to match the quickness of Harvard's four-guard lineup. The Crimson knocked down 10-of-27 3-pointers for the game, while Cal went 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. Allen Crabbe was his usual productive self, scoring a game-high 27 points in defeat to go along with seven rebounds. Justin Cobbs and David Kravish rounded out the team's double-digit scorers with 15 and 12 points, respectively. On the season, Crabbe leads the Pac-12 in scoring with 20.9 ppg, while Cobbs is seventh with 16.4 ppg. The guard tandem has accounted for 52 percent of the team's offensive production. The Bears are at their best when they are crashing the boards, as they rank third in the conference in rebounding and have out-muscled 10 of 12 opponents so far. But on Saturday night, they were only able to muster a slim 34-33 edge on the glass against a much smaller Harvard squad.
UCLA's high-octane offense has averaged a conference-best 80.9 ppg and has scored at least 89 points in four straight games. It marks the first time the team has posted 80 or more points in four straight since the 2007-08 campaign. Freshman sensation Shabazz Muhammad has been a driving force behind the team's offensive success, and he is this week's Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week. Muhammad tied a season-high with 27 points, seven of which came in overtime in the win over Missouri. He has scored in double figures in all 10 games he has played this season, and that includes at least 20 points in each of the Bruins' last four outings. Teammate Travis Wear chipped in with a career-high 22 points against Mizzou, and his jumper with 12 seconds remaining helped seal the outcome. David Wear added 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting off the bench, while Jordan Adams tacked on a dozen for the Bruins.
UCLA has capitalized on a heavy home schedule in the early going, and the team's confidence is certainly high after knocking off Missouri. Expect the Bruins to keep rolling with another solid win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 82, California 73
01/03 10:43:19 ET