When UCLA returned to the court following its stinging loss in the Pac-12 title game last week, it found something waiting for them.
After Las Vegas pegged the Bruins as one of two higher-seeded teams to lose in NCAA tournament’s round of 64, coach Ben Howland decided to post up predictions of Friday’s matchup against No. 11-seed Minnesota.
“Our first practice back, our locker room had a bunch of quotes and posts from people who might be doubting us,” point guard Larry Drew II said. “Just from analysts or writers or bloggers or whoever it may be. Coach obviously feels like, well, he’s noticed it and he definitely wants that to motivate us.”
Although Howland said it wasn’t the first time he had put up bulletin-board material in the locker room this season, Drew couldn’t recall another instance. Perhaps that speaks to the magnitude of the stage, eight teams crowding into the Frank Erwin Center trying to extend their seasons.
“Everybody knows what’s at stake here, what’s on the line,” Drew said. “Even for myself, this is my senior campaign. I don’t have any more college games after this, if I lose.”