Saturday , Dec , 23 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Top-ranked Bruins play host to surging Wolverines

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – The nation’s top-ranked team will be on
display today as UCLA welcomes Michigan to Pauley Pavilion.

Michigan has won four straight games since its only loss of the season, a
narrow setback to NC State on the road. The Wolverines were most recently in
action last Saturday when they cruised past Northern Illinois by a 67-52
final, and today’s showdown marks the first against a ranked opponent for
Michigan thus far. The club is off to its first 11-1 start since the 1992-93
campaign, and a win today would like result in a spot in the next top-25

UCLA is atop the poll for the first time since the 1995 season, the year the
Bruins won their 11th National Championship. They reached the title game a
year ago and return a wealth of talent from that squad. On Tuesday, the team
posted a 75-61 decision over Sam Houston State, and its most notable wins
thus far have come over Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Kentucky.

UCLA owns a 9-3 series advantage over Michigan, although the teams have split
four meetings over the last four seasons.

Strong defense has been key to Michigan’s success this season, as the squad is
limiting its opponents to 54.3 ppg on 36.0 percent shooting from the floor.
The Wolverines have forced roughly 16 turnovers per contest and are
outrebounding foes by 9.4 rpg. Courtney Sims, Michigan’s center, is posting
15.6 ppg on 66.4 percent shooting from the field, and he is pulling down 7.6
rpg as well. Dion Harris adds 13.7 ppg to the mix, and those two players are
the only double-digit scorers on the roster. Sims racked up 21 points and 13
rebounds in the most recent win over Northern Illinois, while Lester Abram
contributed 14 points. The Wolverines forced 23 turnovers and earned a 39-30
rebounding advantage, including a 19-8 edge on the offensive boards.

UCLA has featured the same starting lineup in all 10 games, and four of the
five starters are averaging double figures in scoring. Arron Afflalo tops the
charts offensively with 15.9 ppg, and Josh Shipp adds 14.6 ppg to the mix.
Darren Collison is contributing 12.8 ppg, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute checks
in with 10.3 ppg and 7.9 rpg. UCLA is posting 77.2 ppg on 50.6 percent
shooting from the floor, and it is limiting opponents to 59.9 ppg on 41.6
percent shooting. In the 14-point win over Sam Houston State last time out,
Shipp scored 18 points. Afflalo finished that tilt with 12 points, and
Collison contributed 11 points and nine assists. The Bruins earned a 17-7 edge
in points from the foul line and connected on 54 percent of their field goal
attempts in the triumph.