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January 11, 2008
Cougars, Bruins brace for defensive battle
The last time Washington State won a basketball game at UCLA was … the only time Washington State won a basketball game at UCLA.
The Cougars (14-0), ranked No. 4 in the nation, are 1-49 at Pauley Pavilion, the lone win coming in 2004. But this time they come in as the higher-ranked team, albeit by only one spot. The fifth-ranked Bruins (15-1) are no slouches, and this game (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET) will shape the Pac-10 race for the rest of the season.
These are two of the best defensive teams in the game. Washington State leads the nation in scoring defense (49.8 ppg). It is the only team yielding less than 50 ppg. UCLA is second in scoring defense in the Pac-10 and among the top 10 in the nation, yielding 54.9 ppg.
The Cougars haven't played the most impressive schedule (their strength of schedule is ranked No. 254), but they do count wins over Gonzaga, Washington and a 73-58 throttling of USC on Thursday night.
The Bruins' have played a tougher slate (ranked No. 44), with their only loss coming at home in a nail-biter against Texas. Their résumé includes wins over Michigan State, Maryland and Stanford.
Here's a closer look at the Cougars-Bruins matchup:
Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.