Feb. 7, 2006
UCLA HEAD COACH Ben Howland - In his third season at UCLA and 12th year as a collegiate head coach (in his 25th season of college basketball, as an assistant and head coach). In his career, Howland is 4-1 vs. Washington State and 3-3 vs. Washington.
Howland has led UCLA this season to two Pac-10 road sweeps (at the Oregon schools, first time since 2000-01, and Arizona schools, first time since 1996-97) - not since 1996-97 have the Bruins had two Pac-10 road sweeps (at the Arizona and Washington schools/1997 was the last year UCLA won the Pac-10 Championship). He recorded his 200tth career victory on Nov. 19, when UCLA defeated Delaware State 56-37 in Pauley Pavilion. In Howland's second year (2004-05) at UCLA, he joined an elite list of college coaches (28) who have led three different teams to the NCAA Tournament (Howland's overall NCAA record is 4-4) - 2005 UCLA, 2003 Pittsburgh ("Sweet 16), 2002 Pittsburgh ("Sweet 16") and 1998 Northern Arizona. In 2005, Howland led the Bruins back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002; he directed the Bruins to a win over nationally-ranked Washington; led UCLA to a third-place tie in the Pac-10 and to a Pac-10 Tournament appearance. In Howland's first year (2003-04) at UCLA, highlights included a 9-3 start (5-0 in the Pac-10), wins over NCAA Tournament teams Michigan State, Washington (twice) and Vermont and an appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament.
In his last two seasons (2002-03) at Pittsburgh - in 2003, he led the Panthers to a 28-5 overall record, No. 4 national ranking, NCAA "Sweet 16" and the Big East Tournament Championship and in 2002, Pittsburgh was 29-6 overall (school record for wins), advanced to the NCAA "Sweet 16" and the Big East Tournament title game and Howland was the consensus National Coach of the Year.
Start the Season - UCLA's 19-4 start (UCLA's eight-game winning streak was snapped by the home loss to California/the Bruins are currently on a four-game winning streak) is the best under Howland (in his third season). UCLA is unbeaten on the road this season (5-0/not counting neutral sites), including unbeaten in Pac-10 road games (4-0). Three of UCLA's four losses have been to teams ranked in this week's AP Top 25 (No. 3 Memphis, No. 9 West Virginia and No. 21 Washington). UCLA's RPI ranking was 12 (going into last week's Arizona games in Pauley Pavilion/the RPI is updated every Wednesday, 9 a.m. PT, ncaasports.com). Here's how UCLA's 19-4 record compares to other impressive Bruin starts -
Under Steve Lavin - 2000-01, 13-6, won next seven games; 1997-98, UCLA started 18-5, but lost two of the next three games.
Under Jim Harrick - In 1994-95, UCLA's 11th NCAA title team, started 12-1 (losing at Oregon on Jan. 5), then lost 14th game (12-2) to California in Pauley (Jan. 28, 100-93, game was later forfeited by California) - UCLA would not lose another game, winning the NCAA Championship and finishing with a 32 (school record for wins)-1 overall mark (17-1 in the Pac-10).
In 1993-94, under Harrick, UCLA started 14-0 (and ranked No. 1 in the nation) before losing game No. 15 to California in Oakland (85-70, Jan. 30). The Bruins were then 19-4, but lost three of the season's final five games.
The Bruins Are - 19-3 when holding the opponent under 80 points, 16-1 when leading at halftime, 9-1 when shooting .500 or better from the field and 9-0 when holding the opponent to under .400, 15-1 when outshooting the opponent from the field, 12-1 when outshooting the opponent from three-point range, 15-1 with a rebound advantage and 18-1 when leading with five minutes to play.
Defense - From USC to ASU, the Bruins held five teams to 60 or less points (4-1 record). UCLA held all five teams to below .458 from the field, forced 14 turnovers a game and averaged 5.8 steals. In this week's Pac-10 statistics (league games), UCLA is first in scoring defense (61.1), scoring margin (+6.5), rebounding defense (29.8) and fourth in FG% Defense (.433) and 3PT FG% Defense (.328).
Best Backcourt - On Jan. 25, SI.com named UCLA's backcourt of Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo the No. 3 backcourt in the nation-behind Villanova (Randy Foye/Allan Ray) and Michigan State (Maurice Ager/Shannon Brown).
The Arizona Schools - The last time UCLA swept Arizona and Arizona State home and away in the same season was 1997.
Jordan Farmar - A Midseason Top 30 Wooden Award and preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate, he leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.76) and is 10th in steals (1.24). He's led the Bruins in assists the last 11 games and in 18 of 23 games (vs. Washington, Farmar had a career-best 12 assists, also had 10 vs. Coppin State). Vs. the Arizona schools in Pauley, he led the Bruins with 18 points (game-high tying four assists and two steals) vs. Arizona State and played with a sprained left ankle (second half) vs. Arizona (X-rays Saturday night revealed no abnormalities), contributing 13 points and a team-high tying four assists. He is in a walking boot, had an MRI on Monday (confirming the sprained left ankle), will not practice Monday/Tuesday and his status (for Washington State) will be a game-day decision. He's been playing with a sprained right ankle (first hurt vs. Temple/reinjured vs. Stanford/has missed two games-Delaware State and Albany), but has started every league game. He has scored in double figures the last six games and in 15 contests this season. Farmar has four games of 21 or more points, including a career-high 28 vs. Memphis in an NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal. Farmar has led the Bruins in scoring six times, including consecutive wins over Nevada (24) at the Wooden Classic and at Michigan (21).
Arron Afflalo - UCLA's leading scorer (17.4/fifth in the Pac-10), he's an early season Scout.com All-American and was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament team. He's started every game and scored in double figures in 22 of 23 games, including the last four. He has nine games of 20 or more points. In UCLA's home sweep of the Arizona schools, Afflalo scored a career-high 27 points vs. Arizona (career-best 13-16 from the foul line) with a season-high tying four assists and vs. Arizona State, added 17 points, six rebounds and a season-high tying two steals. His previous scoring high was 23 points twice, vs. Stanford and New Mexico State. He's led UCLA in scoring in 13 games this season. In UCLA's victory at Oregon State, Afflalo led the Bruins in rebounding (career and game-high 10) and recorded his first career double/double (11 points-10 rebounds).
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - The Bruins' leading rebounder (8.8/No. 3 in the Pac-10/the nation's second-leading freshman rebounder/the highest freshman average in UCLA history, breaking Don MacLean's 7.5, 1989/if his season average remains at 8.8, it would be the highest since Ed O'Bannon's 8.8, 1994), he's been UCLA's leading rebounder in 21 of 23 games. He also leads the Pac-10 in offensive rebounding (3.22) and is third in defensive rebounds (5.61). Mbah a Moute has streaks of leading the Bruins in rebounding this season of 12 (longest since 1977-78, when David Greenwood led UCLA in rebounding in the final 13 regular season games) and seven games. He has six double/doubles (tied with Jelani McCoy for the most in Bruin freshman history), including two consecutive on two occasions (the first starting freshman to accomplish that since JaRon Rush (1998-99-final two games that season-at Arizona-16/10 and Detroit Mercy (NCAA)-10/13). Mbah a Moute has eight games of double digit rebounds. Vs. the Arizona schools in Pauley Pavilion, he had eight points and a game-high tying nine rebounds vs. Arizona State and vs. Arizona, even though in foul trouble (had three at halftime and fouled out with :32 left to play), he still had a game-high six rebounds with 11 points. At the sweep of the Oregon schools, Mbah a Moute led the Bruins in scoring both games (Oregon-season and game-high 15 points/game-high 10 rebounds; Oregon State-team-high 14 points/eight rebounds) and for his efforts was named the Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week.
Ryan Hollins - came back from his groin injury (missed six games, including UCLA's first five Pac-10 contests), to play in the last seven games and start the last four. Vs. the Arizona schools in Pauley, he scored a season-best 12 points vs. Arizona with three rebounds and vs. Arizona State, added six points and four rebounds. As a starter at the Oregon schools, in a season-best 35 minutes at Oregon State, Hollins had a then-season-high tying 11 points, with seven rebounds and at Oregon, although in foul trouble, he contributed five points, three rebounds and a season-best four blocked shots.
Cedric Bozeman - After missing eight games with a left shoulder injury (cartilage/he started the first 11 games before the injury), Bozeman has returned to play in the last four games and started the last three contests. With Bozeman in the lineup, the Bruins are 14-1 (13-1 as a starter). Vs. the Arizona schools in Pauley, he averaged 6.5 points, including 10 vs. Arizona State, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals. Alfred Aboya - the freshman had one of his best games of the season vs. Arizona, playing a season-high 22 minutes, with six points, a season-high five rebounds and three steals, and one assist, with no turnovers.
Alfred Aboya - the freshman had one of his best games of the season vs. Arizona, playing a season-high 22 minutes, with six points, a season-high five rebounds and three steals, and one assist, with no turnovers.