UCLA basketball notes: Afflalo: Don’t look past ASU

first_imgThat is what the fifth-ranked Bruins are selling this week as reason not to take lowly ASU lightly tonight at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz. “It doesn’t look good over the long haul, but each individual game is different,” Bruins guard Aaron Afflalo said. “That team has the potential to beat you. If you look at each individual game, that potential to win was always there. But they’re so young, and they don’t have the experience of winning all the time. That can catch up with you.” Arizona State has lost its past four games by a combined 14points and missed an open shot and a chance to beat Washington State in the closing seconds. When the Sun Devils were in Pauley Pavilion last month, they held an early lead, and trailed by a handful of points before UCLA pulled away for a 10-point win. Afflalo came up with another rationale for not peeking ahead to Saturday’s game at Arizona. “It would make absolutely no sense for us to go in there (to Arizona State) and think we have a victory,” Afflalo said. “We’re already coming off a loss. We haven’t been that great on the road ourselves, only 50 percent. For a team with our capability and our talent, we should be much better. So we need this one bad.” UCLA is 14-0 at home and 4-0 on neutral courts, but the road is another issue. The Bruins traveled three time zones and 3,000 miles to lose at West Virginia on Saturday. They also split road trips to Oregon State and Oregon, and California and Stanford, winning easily against a much inferior team in the first game before falling on the back end of the trip. Chasing history: Arizona State is heading toward the first winless season in Pacific-10 Conference history. In fact, if the Sun Devils fail to get out of the weekend with a win, they will be the first Pac-10 team to lose its first 15 conference games of a season. Arizona (1982-83) and Washington State (1999-2000, 2002-03) are the only programs to begin 0-14, and all three of those teams won their 15th game, according to the Pac-10. Two teams in the Pac-8 went 0-14 – Oregon (1971-72) and USC (1975-76). center_img If the Sun Devils go 0-18 – they host UCLA and USC this week and Arizona next week before closing the season at Stanford and Cal – they will do it in dubious style. Arizona State is last in the Pac-10 in scoring offense (59.2ppg) and field-goal percentage (41.1), and ninth in 3-point percentage (31.3) Planting a seed: Count Bruins coach Ben Howland among those who do not believe UCLA hurt its chances of earning the No.1 seed in the West in the NCAA Tournament by losing to West Virginia, especially since point guard Darren Collison (shoulder) did not play. “It’s all based on what we do from here on out, depending on how we go,” Howland said. “It’s a loss. We’re still No. 1 in the RPI. So, although it’s a loss, it’s a loss against a good team on the road. But that remains to be seen. It’s totally depending on what we do with the rest of our games here in the regular season.” A top seed in the West means playing the first two rounds in Sacramento. The regional semifinals and final are in San Jose. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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