DECEMBER 29—UCLA (7-5) will face off against Stanford (10-2) in Palo Alto at Maples Pavilion. After a rough tipoff to the 2011-12 season, the Bruins have made a surge and are now on a five-game winning streak going into their first Pac-12 Conference game.
The Stanford Cardinal have made their stake in the NCAA with a solid non-conference performance of 10-2 this year. Although they are coming off a recent loss to Butler, the Cardinal have twice been on five-game winning streaks so far.
Stanford has beaten a very tough North Carolina State team and nearly beat current No. 1 Syracuse, losing by six points in the final minutes. The Cardinal have done well to adjust to the loss of leading scorer Jeremy Green and look to be a serious contender for the Pac-12 title.
UCLA: Lazeric Jones: 13.3 PPG 3.8 APG 2.1 SPG
After brushing off his early season cobwebs, Jones has been a consistent performer for the Bruins. His outside shot has given the Bruins many more offensive opportunities, and his presence as a leader has boosted UCLA's confidence.
Stanford: Josh Owens: 12.7 PPG 5.4 RPG 0.5 BPG
Owens was a solid center for Cardinal last year and has improved so far this year as a senior. He is a consistent producer for Stanford and has scored in double figures in all but two games this season. His rebounding could use some improvement, but Owens will put consistent points on the board.
Who will win the Pac-12 conference opener?
Who to Watch
UCLA: Norman Powell: 16.9 MPG 5.9 PPG 2.8 RPG
Guard Norman Powell has been a great bench player for the Bruins this year and has brought more to the team than just points. Powell brings an intensity and liveliness that is unrivaled on UCLA, and his energy can be a game-changer. He scored a career-high 19 points against UC Irvine and pumped up the Bruins to a victory.
Stanford: Aaron Bright: 11.3 PPG 3.2 APG 0.8 SPG
Sophomore guard Aaron Bright could give the Bruins some serious trouble with his outside shot. Bright is currently shooting 48.9 percent from three-point range, and UCLA's perimeter defense has collapsed on many occasions this year. If Bright's shot is on he could create some real problems for the Bruins.
Broadcast Fox Sports Net/ Prime Ticket; 8:00 pm PT
Gamecast CBS Sports