No. 5 Oregon and No. 10 UCLA set for rematch
A look at things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 5 Oregon at No. 10 UCLA, Thursday. These teams played a thrilling game on Dec. 28 in Eugene, won 89-87 by the Ducks on Dillon Brooks’ 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left, which ended UCLA’s unbeaten start to the season. Expect another entertaining game when they meet again. Oregon (21-3, 10-1 Pac-12) already had one top-10 showdown in the past week and quickly turned it into a rout, hitting 16 3-pointers in an 85-68 win over then-No. 5 Arizona. The Bruins (21-3, 8-3) bounced back from consecutive losses with a pair of lopsided wins over the two Washington schools. This is a game you don’t want to miss.
LOOKING AHEAD: Utah (15-8, 6-5) is clinging to NCAA Tournament hopes and certainly can’t afford a slipup this week. The Utes host Washington State on Thursday and have a short turnaround before facing Washington on Saturday. USC (20-4, 7-4) solidified its NCAA hopes with a win over UCLA and can bolster them even more by beating Oregon at home on Saturday.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The Pac-12 has four teams with 20 wins this early in the season for the first time since the formation of the Pac-8 in 1968. … The conference has a nation-best three teams in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 this week and has had three top-10 teams in multiple weeks for the first time since 1998-99. … Oregon leads the nation with 7.3 blocked shots per game.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Brooks, Oregon. The junior was named the Pac-12 player of the week for last week after averaging 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 steals per game while helping the Ducks extend their home winning streak to 40 straight games. He also has that game-winning shot against UCLA on his resume.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: With three weeks left in the regular season, the top four teams are separated by two games. No. 9 Oregon State (22-2) leads at 11-1, No. 8 Stanford (20-4) and No. 10 Washington (22-3) are tied at 10-2 and No. 15 UCLA (20-4) is 9-3. UCLA and Oregon State play Sunday in Corvallis while Washington hosts No. 23 Arizona State.
Compiled by AP Basketball Writer John Marshall in Phoenix.