UCLA Basketball: 5 Keys to Beating Arizona in Pac-12 Showdown

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UCLA Basketball: 5 Keys to Beating Arizona in Pac-12 Showdown
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Shabazz Muhammad helped UCLA beat Arizona in Tucson. Will he do it again in Pauley Pavilion?

The outcome of Wednesday’s Pac-12 action has further amped up the importance of UCLA’s showdown against Arizona this Saturday

While the Bruins were expected to improve to 11-4 in conference play with a win over Arizona State, Arizona was not anticipated in the least to fall to USC on the road and fall a half-game behind in the conference race with an 11-5 record.

Prior to Wednesday’s action, this game was tagged as important to the conference title race. With Wednesday behind us, it has now become a must-win for both teams.

Although various scenarios may play out in the two teams' conference games, the game will essentially determine which team will be crowned regular-season champion.

While UCLA has two games remaining after facing Arizona, the Wildcats only have one left, which would cause a loss to almost certainly nullify them from title contention, unless an unlikely combination of UCLA and Oregon losses and an Arizona win versus ASU were to unfold.

The Bruins are under tremendous pressure to win the game as well. While a win nears them to the conference title, a loss requires them to win both games on the road in Washington.

Arizona may be coming off an upset, and UCLA is carrying momentum after enacting revenge on ASU, but it will be no easy task for the Bruins to defeat the Wildcats.

Arizona approaches Saturday’s game adamant to fend off UCLA from reaching the top of the conference. The Wildcats also have a chip on their shoulder after falling to the Bruins in a stunning upset in McKale Center in the teams' first matchup.

It’s set to be a thrilling game, as UCLA heads into the teams’ second matchup realizing the tremendous opportunity for it to climb one step closer to a conference title.

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