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UCLA-USC REPORT

Pac-10 joins with Big 12 in annual series

January 12, 2007|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

The Pacific 10 and Big 12 conferences announced an agreement Thursday for a four-year basketball series similar to the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

In the inaugural series, USC will play host to Oklahoma on Nov. 29 at the Galen Center and and UCLA will play host to Texas on Dec. 2 at Pauley Pavilion. The games are expected to be nationally televised, though no formal arrangements were announced.

"I think it will be good for our league," USC Coach Tim Floyd said. "It will be featured on national television early in the season against quality teams, and it will create interest for the fans.

"It's a great game to help in preparation for league play, because you know you're going to see teams of the caliber of the teams that you're playing in your conference."

Other featured games in the inaugural series include Oregon at Kansas State, Missouri at California and Texas A&M at Arizona.

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UCLA announced preliminary plans for a major renovation of Pauley Pavilion that will include new and upgraded locker rooms and the addition of a video room, a treatment room, a media room and dedicated practice facilities. Additional restrooms and concession areas are also planned.

School officials are also considering the construction of a main lobby that could serve as a central entrance to the 42-year-old facility and a retractable seating system that could bring fans behind the baselines closer to the court.

The goal is to unveil the renovations on Oct. 14, 2010 -- retired coach John Wooden's 100th birthday.

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No official decision has been reached on whether the curtains will be drawn at the north end of the Galen Center for the USC-UCLA game Saturday because of the 11:30 a.m. start.

Television officials had dictated that the curtains be drawn for USC's daytime game against Washington State last month to prevent a glare onto the court from the giant windows that showcase the downtown L.A. skyline.

The Trojans played with the curtains open this season for a noon game against St. Mary's that was not televised, and Floyd said none of the players mentioned that the glare had been bothersome.

Wouldn't USC want to exhibit every amenity of its new $130-million facility?

"That would be a viewpoint," Floyd said. "But the other viewpoint would be that those curtains are very expensive and they're something that's certainly attractive as well that need to be showcased from time to time."

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UCLA Coach Ben Howland said sophomore forward Ryan Wright sprained his ankle in practice Wednesday but could probably play Saturday.... Floyd on the student turnout for the UCLA game, which is expected to top 1,000 for the first time this season: "I'm sure they're going to be loud. Young people make more noise than old people."

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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