What to watch: Stanford at UCLA

Stanford (12-5, 3-2) at UCLA (14-4, 3-2)
Thursday, 8 p.m., Pauley Pavilion
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Ted Robinson, Don MacLean, Yogi Roth)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)

No. 1: Pace. UCLA’s halfcourt offense has been a work in progress all season, as both coach Steve Alford and his players have acknowledged at one point or another. The Bruins like to run, but despite chucking up 129 shots in their last two games, converted on just over 40 percent of them. The sharp drop from their season-long average (50.2 percent) may be due to opposing playbooks as much as the their own execution; freshman guard Zach LaVine said this week that more teams were trying to limit UCLA’s transition opportunities. Continue reading

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UCLA could push for second straight top-10 recruiting class

Four-star tackle Kolton Miller’s commitment to UCLA on Tuesday night didn’t just add another big body (6-foot-8!) to a quickly improving offensive line. It may help put the Bruins into unprecedented territory — according to recruiting rankings, at least.

Through archives dating back to 2002, UCLA has not secured back-to-back classes ranked in the national top 10 by both of the main recruiting services.

With two weeks left until National Signing Day, the Bruins’ class is now ranked No. 17 in the country by Rivals.com and No. 18 by Scout.com. They currently have the highest-rated group of Pac-12 newcomers on Rivals.com’s list. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Steve Alford denies that UCLA is in shooting slump

Despite his team’s shooting percentage dipping by 10 percent in its last two games, UCLA head coach Steve Alford dismissed the term “struggle.”

On the season, the Bruins are hovering at just over 50 percent from the field. Through their recent swing into Colorado and Utah, they shot a sliver above 40 percent. Alford acknowledged some complacency as well as lack of execution, but said, “Two games that are on the road, that’s not a shooting slump.”

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Three-star quarterback Aaron Sharp commits to UCLA

UCLA has found the next dual-threat piece in its quarterback line of succession. Three-star prospect Aaron Sharp committed to the Bruins Monday night, according to multiple reports.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Houston product visited UCLA this past weekend along with six other recruits. Barring injuries to multiple quarterbacks, he will redshirt the 2014 season behind rising junior Brett Hundley and redshirt freshman Asiantii Woulard.

Sharp was previously committed to Kansas State, and briefly to Utah. He was also reportedly set to visit Washington. Rivals.com ranks him as the 18th-best dual-threat quarterback in the country, while Scout.com has him as their No. 60 quarterback.

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Miami lineman Malcolm Bunche headed to UCLA

Former Miami offensive lineman Malcolm Bunche will transfer to UCLA for his final year of college football, according to multiple reports.

Rated a three-star prospect in the class of 2009, the Delaware native will be eligible to play immediately because he already earned his undergraduate degree last month — freeing him to shore up a Bruin offensive line that struggled with injuries this past season.

A physical load at 6-foot-7, 327 pounds, Bunche started 12 games at left tackle in 2012. His playing time dwindled this past season, as he switched between guard and tackle and only started the Hurricanes’ season opener.

His father, Curtis, told the Miami Herald on Wednesday that his son received a mid-round grade on his NFL draft evaluation. Continue reading

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