Undefeated Bruins face Pac-12 ‘favorite’ Oregon in conference opener

UCLA freshman T.J. Leaf leads the team in scoring as they open Pac-12 play Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

UCLA freshman T.J. Leaf leads the team in scoring as they open Pac-12 play Wednesday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The UCLA men’s basketball team has 13 straight wins and a No. 2 ranking, but doesn’t want to stake claim to the title of “Pac-12 favorite.”

Before UCLA’s Pac-12 opener in Eugene, Ore., head coach Steve Alford called the defending Pac-12 champion Ducks, UCLA’s opponent Wednesday night (6 p.m., ESPN2), the favorite to win the conference again.

With the New York Times and Sports Illustrated calling, Alford is trying to deflect as much attention from his dynamic team as possible. But when your team is currently on pace to set a conference scoring record, there’s only so much a coach can do.

Through 13 nonconference games, the Bruins are second in the country in scoring with 95.8 points per game. The conference mark for scoring is 92.3, set by UCLA in 1967-68.

Oregon was the media’s preseason pick to win the conference but lost two of its first four games. The Ducks bounced back with a nine-game winning streak heading into Wednesday’s game.

  • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

    Ucla is now the Pac 12 favorite whether they like it or not. It comes with the territory. They will be getting everyone’s best shot. Team’s will storm the court if they lose. They have a target on their backs with a #2 ranking. Oregon is a worthy opponent. Should be a good game.

    • JustOwns

      We lost by 2 points. Can’t wait for the rematch.

      • ANDYISWINNNNNING!!!!

        Awwwwwwww…….
        And it was on natty tv……
        Hee Hee Hee Hee…..

        • 88 Straight

          When was the last time SC basketball was on national tv?

          • ANDYISWINNNNNING!!!!

            Friday, December 23, 2016.
            FS1!

          • 88 Straight

            I forgot somehow. I’m sure the ratings were stellar. A huge win over a Wyoming team that lost to Pacific. Perhaps the Bruins wore down the Ducks for you.

  • Tyler Durden

    Dominate no mercy. Roasted duck for dinner.

    • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

      I thought Phil Knight was Richard Dreyfus.

      • Tyler Durden

        Knight pays him to stand in for him.

  • Hogsman

    UCLA didn’t deserve to win after blowing an 8-point lead with less than 4 minutes remaining. This may actually help the team in the long run, though: humility Is always a good thing, and learning to deal with adversity could help them go further in the postseason.

    • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

      Oregon will always have the home court advantage and home field advantage. They have nothing to do up there and they keep the seats filled. It’s a tough environment. Ball played like a NBA point guard and carried UCLA in the 2nd half.

      • 88 Straight

        It came down to Oregon hitting 2 difficult 3s and a 90% free throw shooter missing for UCLA. A 6-0 run in16 seconds. That and Oregon going to the line twice as much as the Bruins.

        UCLA played zero defense in the 1st half. Both halves count.

        • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

          True

          • 88 Straight

            They will probably come out flat against SC.

          • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

            I hate to admit it but UCLA is better than Villanova. They shouldn’t lose anymore road games unless its at AZ. Boatwright is hurt for a while. Metu will most likely get into foul trouble playing in the middle by himself. Rakocevic isn’t tough enough in my opinion. SC will need Boatwright. Besides A&M, SMU, and a surprising Wyoming team we had a soft schedule. UCLA has a lot of depth inside.

          • gotroy22

            You mean Oregon State.

          • 88 Straight

            No. I mean Oregon against SC.

        • Richard

          CSA : “The last 4 minutes we just didn’t guard. I thought that was the difference, we lost that four-minute game 17-8”.

          The pot calling the kettle black ?

          His son was responsible for each made basket by Ore in than span.

          If we’re not down by a substantial margin, bench BA in the last 2-5 minutes !!!!!!

          # Worst defender ever. Worse than Jason Kapono.

          • 88 Straight

            You should watch Isaac Hamilton play D. Cut from the same mentality as Bryce. Matador D at its finest.

          • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

            I liked Kapono.

          • 88 Straight

            So did I, but he couldn’t defend. I find it ironic when Tracy Murray or Don MacLean complains about defense. Neither one of them defended either.

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          a 90% free throw shooter missing

          Just like Kentucky.

          • 88 Straight

            Yep. Wonder what’s up with that. He’s been solid in the past in those situations.

      • Hogsman

        I’m surprised that Alford missed the front end of the one-and-one. I think he needs to do some soul-searching after allowing Boucher to get a wide open 3 to pull Oregon within 1 and then missing the free throw on the other end. I hope he bounces back strong and becomes a true senior leader because of it. Hamilton needs to start exhibiting some senior leadership, too.

        • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

          Wasn’t sure if Bryce was angry at himself or Ball when they failed to inbound the first pass. But i was surprised he missed that free throw.

          • JustOwns

            UCLA lost, no excuses!

          • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

            Kind of looked like he was angry at Ball

          • ANDYISWINNNNNING!!!!

            Yes! Lonbozo loses!
            Hee Hee Hee Hee

        • gotroy22

          Epic choke by the senior.

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          Alford choked in the same way against Kentucky.

    • JustOwns

      Tend to agree, although that was a home court win.

      No technical foul for the Oregon fan court stampede, because UCLA didn’t inbound the ball. Very rich.

      • DMH63

        Excuses..take the loss and move on.. Maybe if you switch benches ..you’d might of won LOL .. #ooopsruins

      • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

        Maybe but Walton needs to control himself on the air. He went overboard with his plead for a tech and he would not stop pumping up Welsh. I like Walton. He’s proud of his school and the whole conference for that matter but sometimes he goes over the top.

        • DMH63

          14-0… Hey Fight On!

          • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

            Would love to see our guys shock Oregon at home. Enfield needs to make sure we are level headed and focused. Who knows, we might stun Phil Knight. Fight On!

          • Coach Thom

            USC will run the table from here on out and take the Natty in a blow-out win over Maryland. Lonzo Ball and the Ruins are over-rated wannabes. I’ve got my ‘Fire Coach Alford’ banner all ready to unfurl. Any Trogans willing to put in for some fuel????

          • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

            Nice try coach.

        • 88 Straight

          We wouldn’t want to win a game on that kind of technical foul. However, Oregon needs to control their crowd. Kids can get hurt in that type of situation.

          Walton is correct in pumping up Welsh. He had 20 and 10 with 3 blocks on a bad knee. UCLA needs to involve him even more on the offense. Also, we did not utilize Leaf properly.

          • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

            It was the first time i really paid attention to a UCLA game this season and they looked good. They need to create more turovers and get more stops because Oregon came back at them constantly.

          • Coach Thom

            Every team comes back at the Ruins. That’s Coach Steve’s exciting coaching philosophy. Keep the crowd on tenterhooks until the opposition puts the Ruins away on the buzzer. USC will run off with the Pac12 Championship, followed by the Natty title. Flight on!!!!!

          • Sas…A.K.A…SamBam

            I wish!
            The hosts on fox570 with Leanne Tweeden, David Vassar, and another host were ripping Alford today saying he’s not a good coach and UCLA’S success is do to the tradition/heritage and Ball, Leaf falling onto his lap.

          • Bigwoof1

            Coach Thom has tongue clearly in cheek. Clever posts recently, keep em up Thomas.

  • Sloman2016

    Court storming is for losers! And once again Oregon fans show what they really are, a bunch of losers.

  • DMH63

    Still plenty of season to play out.. 13-1 is not bad. Good luck the rest of the way, except when you play USC.

  • UCLA Dynasty

    Eugene: a wretched hive of scum and villany.