UCLA has come up short again in a season in which team goals have proven unrealistic.
Oregon’s 74-73 victory over Oregon State on Sunday means the Bruins cannot be among the top-four seeded teams in the Pac-12 Conference tournament and will have to win four games in four nights to advance to the NCAA tournament.
The Ducks (20-8 overall, 11-5 in conference play) have a two-game lead over the Bruins (16-13, 9-7) with two games left, and hold the tiebreaker. Oregon beat UCLA, 75-68, in the only meeting between the teams. Washington, California and Arizona are already out of the Bruins’ reach.
UCLA was the preseason pick to win the conference title by the media. Bruins’ players downsized their goal to finishing fourth or higher in recent weeks.
Coach Ben Howland said last week that history is against teams winning four games in four nights during conference tournaments.
UCLA finishes the season against Washington State on Thursday and first-place Washington Saturday. Both games are in the Sports Arena.