Here is what is going on for the game tonight at 6 pm at ESPN2.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Bruins may have to win all four.
Cal is not going to be easy, I think it is hardest game all year for UCLA outside Kansas (which was the second of back to back games):
Under the direction of second-year head coach Cuonzo Martin, California has gone 19-8 this season, posting a 9-5 mark in Pac-12 play. The Golden Bears are 16-0 at home (Haas Pavilion). They have won four of their last five games against UCLA at Haas Pavilion, including a 64-62 win on Feb. 7, 2015
UCLA has on its side one of the hottest players in the league:
Junior guard Isaac Hamilton (Los Angeles, Calif.) of the UCLA men's basketball team was named the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week for Feb. 15-21.
Hamilton averaged 23.5 points and 5.0 rebounds the UCLA men's basketball team's two games last week. He scored 25 points in UCLA's 75-73 loss to Utah before leading the team with 22 points in a 77-53 win over Colorado. Hamilton has scored in double figures in each of the team's last 23 games, the longest such streak by any UCLA player since 2007-08, when Kevin Love scored in double figures in all 39 games. Last week, Hamilton shot 56.3 percent from the field, helping to elevate his overall field goal percentage to 49.7. Hamilton ranks fourth among all Pac-12 players with 17.0 points per game.
That said a hot Hamilton will not be enough. The PAC 12 is just hard to win on the road (which makes UCLA home record particularly alarming but I digress):
Through eight weeks, road teams had a winning percentage of .314 in Pac-12 play, on track to be the lowest mark since the conference expanded to 12 teams beginning with the 2011-12 season.
This season, most bracketology projections peg either six or seven Pac-12 teams in the 68-team tournament field. The conference has never had more than six.
As it stands, UCLA (15-12, 6-8) is likely to miss the tournament for the first time since 2012.
How bad is this? Don MacLean who is always hesitant to criticize blasted Steve Alford and UCLA while tempering his comment at the end:
Pac-12 Networks analyst Don MacLean called the Bruins "the most disappointing team in the Pac-12" last week, but added he wouldn't be surprised if they won the conference tournament in Las Vegas next month, a way to snag an automatic bid.
I take this to mean that UCLA has as much talent as anyone in the PAC 12. But I disagree with Don, this team cannot win that many games (remember they will not get a first round bye in the PAC 12 tournament). However, the larger point, if UCLA loses tonight the tournament dream officially has the final nail in its coffin barring the miracle of winning the PAC 12 tournament.