The UCLA Bruins put their four-game winning streak on the line tonight as they travel to Tucson to battle the Arizona Wildcats on ESPN2, in a battle of two teams currently tied for second in the Pac-10 conference. UCLA lost last year's game against the Wildcats in Arizona, but have won three of their last five games at McKale Center. Reeves Nelson, the leading scorer and rebounder for the Bruins, is a game-time decision with a sprained left ankle, suffered against Stanford on Saturday.
Both the Bruins (13-6, 5-2) and Wildcats (16-4, 5-2) trail the conference-leading Washington Huskies, who are 7-1 in conference play. To show what a down year this has been for the Pac-10 conference, Washington is the only team in the conference ranked in the top 25. Arizona is ranked 27th in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls, while UCLA hasn't received any votes in either poll. However, a weekend sweep of the Arizona schools could change that for the Bruins.
Missing Nelson would be a blow for UCLA, as he would likely matchup against fellow sophomore Derrick Williams, the leading scorer and rebounder for Arizona. Williams is averaging 19.7 points and 8.1 boards this year, and is averaging 20.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest in conference play. The good news for the Bruins is that center Joshua Smith, who suffered head and neck injuries resulting from banging his head on the floor last week against Stanford, has been cleared to play tonight, per Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.
UCLA and Arizona have split their last six meetings, which each team scoring 434 total points during that span. Arizona is 11-0 at home this season, and has won 13 straight at McKale Center dating back to last season. Tonight's 6:05 p.m. PST game will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. Rece Davis and Jay Bilas will call the game.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Bruins Nation.