Travis Wear, Nick Johnson

UCLA's Travis Wear, left, battles Arizona's Nick Johnson for the ball during last year's Pac-12 tournament semifinal contest between the two teams. The Bruins will look to hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season Thursday. (Julie Jacobson / Associated Press / March 15, 2013)

There remains an eerie consistency to UCLA's basketball rivalry with Arizona.

"Their fans didn't like us and the feeling was vice versa," said Ed O'Bannon, who played for UCLA from 1992 to 1995.

Said Jordan Adams, who leads the Bruins in scoring this season: "Their fans don't like us much and we don't like them."

Some things never change, and hard feelings when UCLA and Arizona play are one of them.

The Bruins and Wildcats have clawed at each other for 20 years. Conference titles, be it as part of the Pac-10 or Pac-12, have hung in the balance. National attention often fell on Tucson and Westwood as the college basketball powers in the West.

Arizona is powerful again, bringing a 15-0 record and No. 1 ranking into Pauley Pavilion on Thursday night. UCLA is 12-2 and was nationally ranked until a loss at Missouri and one against Duke at Madison Square Garden.

The Bruins have a 10-19 record against No. 1 teams, with the last victory over a top-ranked team coming against Arizona in 2003.

"Good," said O'Bannon, "we're about due."

Yes, so many years later, that competitive spirit remains.

"It was always a game I had circled on the calendar," O'Bannon said. "I knew when we were playing. I knew who I was guarding."

Since 1988, UCLA has won eight conference titles and made 22 NCAA tournament appearances, including four trips to the Final Four, with one national title. Arizona has 10 conference titles and 24 NCAA tournament appearances, including four trips to the Final Four, with one national title.

"We have hopes and aspirations," UCLA guard Norman Powell said. "Beating them would put us where we want to be."

UCLA has that as motivation. Arizona is seeking revenge, having lost three times to UCLA last season, including 84-73 in Tucson at McKale Center, where Bruins guard Kyle Anderson tried to high-five unhappy Arizona students as he skipped to the locker room.

"They are going to come into this game with a chip on their shoulders," UCLA center Tony Parker said.

Maybe even a cinder block. Added incentive: This will be the only time these teams meet during the regular season.

"They are ranked No. 1 and have everything going for them," Adams said. "In the back of their minds they know we beat them three times last year. They are going to remember that."

There are rivalries that are issued with the uniform. UCLA has USC. Arizona has Arizona State. Those are about owning local real estate.

UCLA and Arizona has been an interstate feud, though it still involves bragging rights.

"When I was at Arizona, UCLA had Baron Davis and Jason Kapono, guys I had played against, and even with, in AAU ball," former Wildcats star Luke Walton said. "You're playing against guys you literally have been playing against for 10 years."

The games don't ebb and flow so much as they simmer and boil.