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Bruins move up to fourth place in two polls

Times Staff Writer

With its sweep of the Oregon schools last week, UCLA moved from sixth to fourth in both the Associated Press top 25 media poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll.

In the AP poll, the Bruins (24-3, 10-3) even got a first-place vote from Bill Liesse, the sports editor of the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star.

Tennessee is first in both polls after beating previously top-ranked Memphis. In the AP poll, the Volunteers got 69 first-place votes, No. 3 North Carolina got two and UCLA had Liesse’s ballot. Memphis is second in the AP poll and North Carolina third, while the coaches have North Carolina second and Memphis third. Tennessee was a unanimous first-place vote-getter from the coaches.

“I don’t see anybody else matching UCLA one through five,” said Liesse, who then named UCLA’s starting five -- Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Josh Shipp, Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook. “I know it’s crowded at the top, but at the end of the day I don’t see a Kevin Love on Tennessee.”

Only two other Pacific 10 Conference teams are ranked -- Stanford is No. 8 and Washington State is 22nd in both polls.

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UCLA ranks in the top five of every team statistical category in the Pac-10 except three-point field-goal shooting percentage, where the Bruins are ninth (Oregon State is last). The Bruins are first in scoring margin and defensive rebounding; second in scoring defense, free-throw percentage and field-goal percentage; third in scoring offense, three-point field-goal defense percentage and offensive rebounding; and fifth in field-goal percentage defense.

Freshman center Love is seventh in the conference in scoring, second in rebounding, fifth in field-goal percentage, second in offensive rebounding and tied for second in defensive rebounding. Westbrook leads in assists, and Collison is first in free-throw percentage and steals.

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UCLA’s game against California on March 8 at Pauley Pavilion will begin at 12:30 p.m. It is the final regular-season game and will be televised by ABC.

The March 6 game against Stanford at Pauley Pavilion at 8 p.m. will be televised by FSN Prime Ticket.

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diane.pucin@latimes.com


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