For The Title?!

March 2, 2001

LOS ANGELES (AP)- Stanford has revenge on its mind and a conference title in its sites.

The No. 1 Cardinal can take care of both on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion when they visit No. 12 UCLA in a Pac-10 showdown.

Stanford (26-1, 14-1) leads UCLA (20-6, 13-2) by one game in the conference standings, with Arizona another game back. The Cardinal can clinch a share of the title and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but that's not their only business in Los Angeles.

The Cardinal also will look to avenge their only loss of the season. They suffered a 79-73 loss at home on Feb. 3 - the second straight season that UCLA upset a No. 1 Stanford team.

"We can clinch at least a co-Pac-10 championship on Saturday, and we owe those guys something," Stanford's Ryan Mendez said.

The Cardinal got their weekend off to a good start by holding off Southern California 70-68 on Thursday night. Casey Jacobsen scored 22 points to lead Stanford, which is seeking its third straight conference crown.

"If we win on Saturday, it means we had a good weekend down here," guard Michael McDonald said. "A split does nothing for us in terms of the Pac-10 championship, we didn't come down here for a split."

The Cardinal would wrap up the Pac-10's automatic bid with a win Saturday because of their sweep of California. It would also virtually ensure coach Mike Montgomery's team of a top seed in the NCAA tournament.

But UCLA is still in the hunt for its 24th Pac-10 title, and the Bruins have been one of the hottest teams in the country after a shaky start.

UCLA has won eight straight games following a 79-75 win over California on Thursday. Earl Watson scored 20 points and Dan Gadzuric pulled down 11 rebounds as the Bruins continued their torrid run following a disappointing 6-4 start to the season.

"The Pac-10 championship is coming through Westwood," Watson said. "A lot of times people don't steal, they take. I don't want them to take my championship."

A victory by the Bruins would be their ninth over the No. 1 team in the country, equaling Notre Dame's record.

Stanford closes the regular season next weekend by playing host to Arizona and Arizona State, while UCLA visits Washington State and Washington.

Stanford has won the last three meetings at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA leads the all-time series 123-80.

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