The Pac-12 Conference Tournament's slate of two semifinal contests kicks off Friday with a matchup pitting the fourth- seeded UCLA Bruins against the fifth-ranked and top-seeded Arizona Wildcats at MGM Grand Garden Arena in a rematch of last year's title bout.
With their sights set on keeping pace atop the Pac-12 standings, the 11th-ranked Utah Utes head to the City of Angels this week for a two-game set, starting with Thursday's showdown with the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion.
The 22nd-ranked UCLA Bruins and the fifth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels both unexpectedly fell to the consolation side of the bracket at the Battle 4 Atlantis and will square off at Imperial Arena on Thursday night.
When Steve Alford was chosen to replace longtime coach Ben Howland in April 2013, the hire didn’t exactly have UCLA fans jumping for joy. Howland, after all, had taken the Bruins to three straight Final Fours in the past decade and was fresh off a Pac-12 regular-season title.