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Oregon State Beavers at UCLA Bruins Game Thread

With just five games left in the regular season, can the Bruins claim one of the top four spots in the Pac-12 and the first round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament that comes along with it?

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at California
After a 3-0 start in the Pac-12, Murry Bartow’s Bruins have been struggling. Can they finish strong?
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

A look at the Pac-12 standings this afternoon isn’t very encouraging. After last night’s three games, UCLA is currently sitting in ninth place in the conference. The only teams trailing the Bruins in the conference standings are Arizona, Washington State and UC Berkeley. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the conference is still wide open. UCLA only trails second place Oregon State by two and a half games heading into tonight’s game against the Beavers and they trail fourth place Utah by a game and a half. So, a win tonight would go a long way towards that goal of finishing in the top four.

Meanwhile, a loss won’t mathematically eliminate the Bruins, but it will leave them a full two games behind Utah with just four games to play. It will also leave UCLA two games under .500 in conference play, meaning that UCLA would have to win three of their final four games just to get to .500.

But, if the Bruins can’t find a way to beat the Beavers at home—and I’m not sure they will—it’s probably likely that UCLA will limp their way to the end of the season and a probable first round loss in the Pac-12 Tournament.