UCLA, Washington face uphill battles for postseason contention

When Pac-12 Conference counterparts UCLA and Washington meet on Thursday in Seattle, it begins what could be the final five games of the Bruins’ season and last four of the Huskies’ campaign.”We could also play ’til April,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said at Tuesday’s media availability.UCLA (14-13, 9-7 Pac-12) plays four regular-season games beginning with the Thursday road contest, then will head to Las Vegas for the conference tournament.After going on a streak with six straight wins — a run that began with a 65-60 defeat of Southern California on Jan. 27 — the Bruins embarked on their closing stretch with two straight defeats.The losses leave UCLA in fifth place in the Pac-12. The difference between fourth and fifth is the difference in having to win three games at the Pac-12 tournament to secure an NCAA Tournament berth or needing four wins in Las Vegas.”We’re just going to try to get better and see what the hell happens,” Cronin said.An automatic bid is presumably the only way into the NCAA Tournament for both UCLA and Washington.The Huskies (15-13, 7-10) have gone 5-7 beginning with a 73-61 loss at UCLA on Jan. 14. They most recently completed a road split in the desert with an 84-82 overtime win on Feb. 22 at Arizona State and a 91-75 loss on Saturday at then-No. 4 Arizona.