UCLA to wear colorblock alternate uniforms in Pac-12 Tournament

UCLA's new postseason alternate uniforms, which are far from the worse thing the Bruins have ever worn. (adidas)

UCLA’s new postseason alternate uniforms, which are far from the worst thing the Bruins have ever worn. (adidas)

After the Great Zubaz Scandal of 2013, the standard for shock and awe and disgust has already been set for the world of UCLA alternate uniforms. We have seen the future, and it nearly blinded us.

So here is the newest UCLA alternate uniform, colorblocked according to the latest fashion trends. It will be worn briefly during the Pac-12 Tournament in two weeks, then stored away as all UCLA alternates always are. Adidas will tout the “lightweight, sweat-wicking technology” and “targeted ventilation zones.” When asked, players will respond with appropriate enthusiasm. Some fans will nod politely; others will wring their hands and grit their teeth.

The gyre of sporting couture whirls on.

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UCLA 88, UW 66: Tony Parker shakes recent struggles, score 20

Tony Parker couldn’t stay on the floor on UCLA’s last road trip, fouling out in losses at Arizona State and Arizona. In that stretch, he totaled just four points and two rebounds.

Facing Washington at home was a complete 180, as the 6-foot-9 big man abused the Huskies’ undersized lineup early. He made his first four shots, and finished with 20 points as the Bruins won 88-66.

“I only took two shots that (last week),” he said. “I knew I had to come out aggressive and play tough just to get going. … Staying out of foul trouble was a big thing for me too.”

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UCLA 88, UW 66: Steve Alford talks about Bruins’ bounce-back win

After a bumpy road trip to Arizona State and Arizona, UCLA looked better against Washington — blowing out the Pac-12′s 11th-place team, 88-66.

Tony Parker shook off his recent foul troubles and scored 20 points, and the Bruins shot a season-best 62.7 percent. Norman Powell led scored a game-high 24 that included several highlight-reel dunks, and his team had 50 in the paint.

“They were undersized,” said head coach Steve Alford. “We took advantage of that. Sometimes you don’t take advantage of it, and our guys did a good job of doing that.”

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At a glance: UCLA vs. Washington

UCLA (16-12, 8-7) vs. Washington (15-11, 4-10)
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 8 p.m., Pauley Pavilion
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch, BIll Walton)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)

Scouting report: A once-promising start to the season for Washington has fallen apart over the last month, with the Huskies stumbling into a seven-game losing streak — the longest of Lorenzo Romar’s 13-yard tenure.

Six of those losses came after the dismissal of big man Robert Upshaw. The 7-foot redshirt sophomore had averaged 10.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.4 blocks before violating team rules. No one in college basketball is averaging more than 3.74 blocks per game, and only six are even averaging more than 3.0. And even though he hasn’t played since Jan. 28, Upshaw is still fifth in the country and first in the Pac-12 with 85 total blocks; next-best in the conference is Oregon’s Jordan Bell, who is seven blocks behind despite playing eight more games.

The effect of Upshaw’s absence is easy to gauge. In the seven conference games he played in, he recorded 29 blocks and helped Washington hold opponents to 41 percent shooting from the field. In seven games without him, the Huskies are giving up 53.6 percent.

This means it’s as good a matchup as any for Tony Parker to find his groove again. Continue reading

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UCLA spring football starts on March 31

Brett Hundley (17) leads UCLA in a spring practice on April 3, 2014. With the quarterback now off the the NFL, the Bruins will spend this spring trying to find his successor. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

Brett Hundley leads UCLA in a spring practice on April 3, 2014. With the quarterback now off the the NFL, the Bruins will spend this spring trying to find his successor. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

The search for UCLA’s new starting quarterback will begin in a little over a month.

The Bruins announced their spring practice schedule today, with 14 practices that will start on March 31. The main event, of course, will be the competition to replace three-year starter Brett Hundley behind center. Five-star recruit Josh Rosen is the presumptive favorite after enrolling in January, but backup Jerry Neuheisel and redshirt sophomore Asiantii Woulard will make their bids as well.

Every session will begin in the morning, except for three Monday practices that start at 4:30 p.m. (April 6, 13 and 20). Since seats at Spaulding Field were removed last year, the observation areas will be standing-room only.

The spring game will be held at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, April 25 at 10 a.m.

Here’s the full schedule: Continue reading

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UCLA coach Steve Alford recovering from hernia surgery

UCLA head coach Steve Alford is recovering from hernia surgery, and was not available for Tuesday’s media availability.

He underwent the operation on Monday, but is expected to coach the Bruins for Wednesday’s 8 p.m. tipoff against Washington at Pauley Pavilion.

“He’s been texting the team,” said senior guard Norman Powell. “We all talked to him before film yesterday. He was joking around about different things before surgery. It’s a lot of fun to see that he still has high spirits throughout the adversity that he’s facing.

“We just wish him a speedy recovery and for him to be back before the game tomorrow.”

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UCLA announces Tom Bradley as new defensive coordinator

UCLA has announced the hiring of former Penn State assistant Tom Bradley as the Bruins’ new defensive coordinator, officially ending a search the began almost three weeks ago.

“To bring a coach of Tom Bradley’s caliber to UCLA is very exciting,” head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “His knowledge of the game, extensive experience, level of intensity and attention to detail all make him one of the best defensive teachers in college football.

“Combine that with the fact that he has strong national recruiting ties and is one of the most well respected coaches in the game — it all adds up to Tom being a tremendous addition to our staff.” Continue reading

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UCLA hires former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley

UCLA’s search for a defensive coordinator is over.

Former longtime Penn State assistant Tom Bradley will fill that position for the Bruins, ESPN confirmed this afternoon. The program has not yet made an official announcement.

Bradley’s status as the leading candidate for the UCLA opening surfaced last week. He is the Bruins’ third defensive coordinator in as many years, following Jeff Ulbrich — who became the Atlanta Falcons linebackers coach earlier this month — and Lou Spanos.

Bradley worked as West Virginia’s associated head coach last year, and also worked in broadcasting following his decades-long stint in State College. He led several top-10 defenses at Penn State as a coordinator from 2000 to 2011, and served as the team’s interim head coach after the dismissal of Joe Paterno.

Here is last week’s look at the longtime PSU assistant, including former West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck’s strong endorsement of him regarding the Sandusky scandal.

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Arizona 57, UCLA 47: Norman Powell talks loss to Wildcats

After UCLA’s 57-47 loss at No. 7 Arizona on Saturday, the Bruins can no longer get to 20 regular-season wins — a mark that would have likely secured them a spot in March Madness. Asked about his team’s postseason chances, senior guard Norman Powell remained optimistic.

“It’s fuel to our fire,” he said. “Holding serve at home, and making a run in the (Pac-12) Tournament — that’s what’s going to lock us up getting back into the NCAA Tournament.”

Asked if that meant securing the conference’s automatic bid, Powell said: “Right now, we’re just focused on these three games.”

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Arizona 57, UCLA 47: Point guard Bryce Alford talks loss to Wildcats

UCLA lost at No. 7 Arizona, 57-47, but displayed some of the best defense it had all season. The Bruins held the Wildcats scoreless for more than six minutes at the start of each half, going out on 7-0 and 17-0 runs.

What was the difference?

“I think it’s just effort,” said point guard Bryce Alford. “Just playing balls to the wall the whole time. ASU, we kind of lacked in that area. Can’t really tell you why. I don’t really know. That’s inexcusable.

“Tonight, I thought we played as hard as we could. Each man, from top to bottom, I thought we played extremely hard.”

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