Men’s water polo prepares for NCAA seminfinal

Patrick Fellner leads the No. 2 UCLA men's water polo team in scoring as the Bruins chase a third-straight NCAA title. (Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics)

Patrick Fellner leads the No. 2 UCLA men’s water polo team in scoring as the Bruins chase a third-straight NCAA title. (Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics)

An NCAA-record 57-game winning streak won’t mean much for the UCLA men’s water polo team unless the Bruins can cap the year with their third-straight national championship.

No. 2 UCLA starts its NCAA run Saturday against Cal in the NCAA semifinals. The Bruins had an NCAA-record winning streak this year, but it was snapped by USC about three weeks ago. The Trojans then handed the Bruins two losses in as many weeks.

Despite losing two of its past three games heading into this weekend, UCLA is refocused for a chance at a three-peat.

You can watch UCLA’s semifinal match, which is scheduled for Saturday 5:12 p.m. PT at Cal, online here.

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No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 1 Kentucky: Will Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf measure up?

After its schedule peaked last weekend with undistinguished Texas A&M and Nebraska teams, do we really know how good No. 11 UCLA is? We’ll have a lot better idea after Saturday’s spike in the Bruins’ slate.

The Bruins’ schedule is ranked 268th in the country, according to Ken Pomroy. That number will skyrocket after Saturday’s meeting with No. 1 Kentucky, a matchup that is fascinating on several fronts. For further detail, read my preview of UCLA’s biggest game of the young season.

First of all, it’s not out of the question for a win to conceivably vault UCLA to No. 1 in the nation. Aside from who wins, simply watching Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf measure themselves against not one, not two, not three, but four other elite freshmen is a rare opportunity.

While this will mark UCLA’s first-ever trip to Rupp Arena, these two teams have a recent history. This will be not just the third time they’ve played in three years, but the third time Kentucky has been the No. 1 team in the country when they’ve met. UCLA upset the Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion last season. But two years ago, Kentucky handed UCLA one of the most embarrassing defeats in the proud program’s history. How embarrassing? UCLA scored seven points in the first half.

On the statistical front, UCLA and Kentucky are two of the four highest-scoring teams in the country. There are only two teams in the nation that average less than Kentucky and UCLA’s 13.6 seconds per possession. You better not leave your seat, says Steve Alford. In other words, this game is going to be as entertaining as much for the talent – there are six 2016 McDonald’s All-Americans between the two teams – as it is for the breakneck pace of play. Continue reading

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Top ILB Anthony Hines III chooses Texas A&M over UCLA

Scout.com’s No. 1 inside linebacker in the country committed to Texas A&M on Friday, choosing the Aggies over UCLA. 

Anthony Hines III was also deciding between Florida State, TCU, UCLA, Ohio State and Penn State.

UCLA coaches visited the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker from Plano East (Texas) High this week in a late recruiting push. Linebackers coach Scott White, defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and head coach Jim Mora went on the in-home visit.

The Bruins have 10 commits for the class of 2017, lead by five-star defensive end Jaelan Phillips and four-star defensive lineman Greg Rogers

 

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UCLA football links: Wrapping up the season

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) tries to throw the ball out of bounds as he is sacked by Texas A&M defensive lineman Kingsley Keke (88) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in College Station, Texas. Sam Craft AP Photo

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) tries to throw the ball out of bounds as he is sacked by Texas A&M defensive lineman Kingsley Keke (88) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in College Station, Texas. Sam Craft AP Photo

UCLA already started its bounce back campaign as the Bruins parted ways with offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu one day after the team lost to Cal last Saturday. With the season officially over, here are some links to wrap up the year:

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Quessenberry, McKinley, Brown earn All-Pac-12 first team honors

UCLA linebacker Jayon Brown, seen tackling Utah tailback Joe Williams last season, leads the Pac-12 with 97 tackles. (George Frey/Getty Images)

UCLA linebacker Jayon Brown, seen tackling Utah tailback Joe Williams last season, leads the Pac-12 with 97 tackles. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Despite only winning four games this year, UCLA landed six total players on All-Pac-12 teams on Tuesday, led by three on the all-conference first team and two offensive lineman who blocked for the second-worst rushing offense in the country.

Offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry was UCLA’s only offensive first-team member while defensive end Takkarist McKinley and linebacker Jayon Brown led the Bruins on defense.

Quessenberry returned this season after two shoulder surgeries to start every game at center. McKinley led the Bruins with 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his senior season. Brown led the conference in tackling (119) and became the first Bruin since Erik Kendricks in 2014 to reach the 100-tackle mark.

Left tackle Conor McDermott and tight end Nate Iese were named to All-Pac-12 second team offense and linebacker Kenny Young made the second team cut on defense.

Receiver Darren Andrews, safeties Randall Goforth and Jaleel Wadood, cornerback Fabian Moreau and defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes earned honorable mention honors.

The all-conference teams were selected by the Pac-12 head football coaches. Continue reading

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