#2 UCLA Bruins (23-8) vs #7 Oregon Ducks (23-8)
Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena
6:00 PM PST – Pac 12 Network
In the quarterfinals of the Pac 12 Tournament the Oregon Ducks will take on the UCLA Bruins with the winner advancing to take on the winner of Arizona State and Stanford in the semifinals. These two teams have met twice this season with both teams winning on the others home court. Both games have been extremely competitive. In the first matchup on January 30th in Eugene the Bruins won 70-68. That victory came during a stretch of the season where the Ducks were 2-8 overall and found themselves at the bottom of the conference standings. In the second matchup the Ducks took down the Bruins, who were missing Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, in Pauley Pavilion by the score of 87-83 in double overtime. That win by the Ducks is part of their current 8-game conference winning streak.
The Bruins are coming off a crushing defeat at the hands of Washington State in their season finale by the score of 73-55. The Ducks, on the other hand, are riding their incredibly impressive winning streak that has propelled them into the NCAA Tournament picture and included a win over #3 Arizona in Eugene in their season finale. The Ducks extended their winning streak last night against their in-state rivals, the Oregon State Beavers, by the score of 88-74. The Ducks outscored the Beavers by 13 in the second half and the game was all but over with 7 minutes left in the second half.
UCLA and Oregon match up very well against one another so we should expect to see another classic game that comes down to the wire. While the Bruins have been the more impressive team in their match ups this season, the Ducks are without question the hottest team in the conference and have become the team most expected them to be at the start of the season when they were ranked in the Top 10. Oregon has had one of the weirdest seasons in recent memory. They started 10-0 before dropping 8 of their next 10 and have now rattled off 8 straight victories. The Ducks are a confident bunch right now and with UCLA coming off a terrible loss to the Cougars it would seem as though the Ducks would be favored in this matchup. However, UCLA is one of the most talented teams in the conference and have looked like it for most of this season. UCLA is favored by 2.5 in Vegas but the Ducks are clearly the hotter team. It should be a fantastic game in the desert.
Prediction: Oregon 74 – UCLA 71