NBA scouts and casual basketball fans alike should be very interested in the first Pac-12 tournament semifinal in Las Vegas on Friday night, as No. 1 seed Arizona and No. 4 UCLA meet in what could very well be an entertaining, up-tempo shootout.
The game starts at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network. If you don’t have cable or that channel, you can watch the game live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
FuboTV: Pac-12 Network is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
Additionally, if you want to watch a replay of any game, FuboTV has included DVR, as well as a “Lookback” feature, which allows you to watch any previously aired sporting event up to 72 hours after the game without having to DVR it.
Sling TV: The Pac-12 Network is included in the “Sling Blue” plus “Sports Extra” bundle. You can include both in your free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Additionally, if you want to watch a replay of any game, DVR can be added when signing up for your free trial.
These teams have a lot of similarities.
Arizona, which boasts future NBA talent in potential No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton, Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins, are efficient offensively (15th in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings) but struggle defensively (90th in Pomeroy’s rankings). UCLA, which boasts future NBA talent in Aaron Holiday and Kris Wilkes, are efficient offensively (18th) but struggle defensively (109th).
During their lone regular season matchup in Tuscon in early February, UCLA took a 32-31 lead with 2:14 left in the first half and led the entire rest of the way en route to an 82-74 win.
The Bruins shot 11-of-24 from deep, every starter scored in double-figures and they finished with 1.17 points per possession, but it was also an impressive defensive effort, as they held Ayton to just 16 points on an inefficient 7-of-19 shooting, and Alkins to five points on 1-of-9 from the field.
Since that loss, though, Arizona has reeled off six wins in seven games. The defense has held opponents to 1.00 points or less per possession in five of those games, culminating with a stout effort against Colorado in the quarterfinals that saw the Wildcats record 11 steals and force 15 turnovers.
“I really liked our defense, especially in the second half,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said after the 83-67 win. “We had plenty of transition opportunities because of our defense and that’s when we’re at our best.”
Still, though, that’s a Colorado team that ranks 174th nationally in offensive efficiency. Arizona’s defense gets a real test Saturday night when they face a Bruins squad that just got 34 points from Holiday and hit 12 threes in an 88-77 win over Stanford in the quarters.
Put it all together, and this stands as a really intriguing matchup. While both teams have a reason to be optimistic in terms of defense (UCLA has their performance against Arizona in the first matchup, and Arizona has their recently improved play), the most likely outcome is that both offenses take over, Ayton and Holiday–the conference’s two best players–go back-and-forth, and this turns into a shootout that comes down to the final possessions.
And that would be perfectly fine.