Posted on October 3, 2020
In this 12-part series, I look at what makes each facility unique, and recount some of the key moments and stats* in the Pac-12 Era. We continue in this sixth installment with UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.
Elevation: 338 feet
Overall Record: 124-28
Overall Conference Record: 62-17
Overall Nonconference Record: 62-11
Beginning with the last few years of the Ben Howland Era, UCLA dropped head-turning games to Middle Tennessee State, Loyola Marymount, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Six seasons later came the tumultuous transition from Steve Alford to Mick Cronin, and the Bruins posted similarly worrying losses to Belmont, Hofstra, Cal State Fullerton, and Liberty.
Sprinkle in a victory over No. 1 Kentucky in between, and you’re ready to join the UCLA fan club. Prepare for a bumpy ride.
Sandwiched between the shocking nonconference defeats and victories sits a consistent characteristic: dominance in conference play. The Bruins have a winning record against every team in the Pac-12, and only Oregon and USC have more than two wins at Pauley.
That’s a remarkable trait for a program with double-digit defeats on its home court to the likes of Liberty and Hofstra.
In reality, those shocking losses came during transitional periods when the program was either on the brink of firing its coach or at the very start of a new era.
The nonconference peak was the victory over No. 1 Kentucky in 2015. The upset win came during the height of the Alford Era, a brief five and a half year period that produced three Sweet 16’s and a Pac-12 Tournament Championship.
UCLA put together additional respectable wins against Michigan in 2016, Norte Dame in 2018, and No. 7 Missouri in 2012.
During the Lonzo Ball season in 2016-17, the Bruins took the floor as the No. 2 team in the nation. Only Arizona has achieved that height since 2011-12, a distinguishing mark that sets the program above the rest of the Conference of Champions.
Though consistent turnover has plagued the head coach, the constant remains strong recruiting classes and NBA-level talent. That strength has created the 34-4 record as a ranked program, and the 6-4 mark against the Top 25 when unranked.
The building has witnessed three games between two ranked opponents, with UCLA going 1-2 in those contests. The single victory came in 2017 when the No. 10 Bruins were battling No. 5 Oregon led by Dillon Brooks. Ball’s instant-classic dagger three with 32 seconds remaining sealed the game, securing UCLA’s best conference win of the Era.
And while the seven wins against the Top 25 are a solid indication of the Bruins’ success, the 11 defeats in nonconference are indicative of the underlying struggles the program has faced since 2011-12.
Fortunately for the University and the Pac-12 as a whole, Mick Cronin appears poised to eclipse the success of the Alford Era and return the Bruins to consistent national relevancy in the new decade.
Records vs. Top 25 and When Ranked
Record vs. Top 25: 7-6
Record vs. Top 25 When Unranked: 6-4
Record vs. Top 25 When Ranked: 1-2
Record When Ranked: 34-4
Highest Home-Game Rankings
Highest Ranking for Home Game: No. 2 (2016)
Victory over Highest Ranked Team: No. 1 Kentucky (2015)
Highest Ranked Opponent: No. 1 Kentucky (2015); No. 1 Arizona (2014)
Noteworthy Conference Wins: No. 5 Oregon (2017); No. 7 Arizona (2016); No. 11 Utah (2015); No. 11 Arizona (2013); No. 20 Colorado (2020)
Noteworthy Nonconference Wins: No. 1 Kentucky (2015); No. 7 Missouri (2012); Michigan (2016); Norte Dame (2018); UNLV (2019)
Middle Tennessee State by 20 (2011)
Liberty by 15 (2018)
Loyola Marymount by 11 (2011)
Hofstra by 10 (2019)
Cal State Fullerton by 3 (2019)
Monmouth by 3 (2015)
Belmont by 2 (2018)
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo by 2 (2012)
Record of Pac-12 Teams at Pauley Pavilion
Arizona State: 1-5
Oregon State: 1-6
Washington State: 0-7
*Stats courtesy of sports-reference.com
Stanford’s Maples Pavilion
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