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UCLA Basketball: Oregon State Game Thread -- Every Game Is Must Win

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The Bruins can still thread the needle, finish in third and get an NCAA bid. Unfortunately, that scenario involves going 6-1 the rest of the way, allowing for a loss at Arizona. That's actually doable, but the hard part is getting the three teams in front of us, Stanford, Oregon State and Oregon to cooperate. That's the road map. It starts tonight -- mission number three is Alford is still using his white board.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

After a split in the Bay Area, the UCLA Bruins (14-10, 6-5) return to Pauley to face the Oregon State Beavers (16-7, 7-4) tonight at Pauley Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM PT. You can catch the game on PAC-12 Networks. Speros Dedos and Kevin O'Neill (former USC and Arizona coach with a major nasty streak) will call the game. You can also listen on Tunein Radio or 570 AM. Follow along with live stats here.

Read the BN preview and the official guide at uclabruins.com (from which you can click to their exhaustive stats and tidbits).

Vegas has UCLA as the 7.5 point favorite (I'm seeing as high as 9 -- way more than I thought).

Every game from here on out is a must win game for the Bruins. This site actually has UCLA with a 52% chance to get an NCAA bid - down from 65% after the Stanford win and before the Berkeley loss.

Two big differences from the last time when OSU won 66-55: the game is in Pauley and Tony Parker will play this time. OSU, like most PAC-12 teams, can't win on the road, and the Bruins have not lost a conference game in Los Angeles.

The Bruins are a slow team, contrary to popular belief, but the Beavers are even slower. They will pass, pass and pass again, and cut, cut, cut until a good shot arises. The Beavers win by making the opposing team play their game. However, being limited in talent, they do foul and turn the ball over a lot under pressure. The Bruins need to establish their game early, utilizing Tony in the low post, and avoid letting Gary Payton II go crazy -- he's long and athletic enough to get steals and dunks in bunches.

Here's a preview of The Drive (9PM on P12N) featuring UCLA tonight (though half is Oregon State and Tinkle's underarms and probably too much Indiana in the UCLA half). Here's a did you know: they claim to be running a triangle offense.

Enjoy the game thread with your fellow BNers and Bruins.