A little surprisingly, the UCLA Bruins draw even odds with the Arizona Wildcats in terms of Pac-10 tournament favorites. UCLA is definitely the hottest team going into the tourney, with only narrow road losses to Washington and Cal on their resume. But also working in their favor could be home-court proximity, as they'll be playing these games in Los Angeles in the Staples Center.
Let's take a look at what their three game path to the title would entail, thanks to our handy schedule guide of the tournament brackets.
First game, second round matchup: 6 PM PT/9 PM ET, FSN -- UCLA will face the winner of the Wednesday night matchup between the Oregon Ducks and Arizona St. Sun Devils.
Analysis: UCLA swept the season series against both teams, with only a one point overtime win against the Devils in Tempe and a comeback in Matthew Knight Arena being relatively close affairs. An upset here would be shocking.
Second game, semifinals: Friday, 8:30 PM PT/11:30 PM ET on FSN -- UCLA will face the winner of the Thursday night matchup between the Washington Huskies and Washington St. Cougars.
Analysis: The Bruins definitely have a rooting interest here, as they swept the Cougars (although one of the games was without Klay Thompson) and were swept by the Huskies. Thankfully for them, Washington State and their excellent halfcourt defense probably has Washington's number.
Third game, finals: Saturday, 3:10 PM PT/6:10 PM ET on CBS -- Five teams to pick from
Analysis: I doubt UCLA fears any of the potential opponents. They curbstomped Arizona a week back, split a tight season series with Cal, and recovered from their first loss against USC with an excellent showing in the rematch.
Conclusions: UCLA has a pretty clean road to the tournament title, and only the monkey wrench of Washington could stand in the way of elevating their status for March madness. The Bruins aren't on the bubble by any means, but they probably want to win at least one game to ensure they have the best possible seeding for Selection Sunday.