UCLA, sellout crowd should expect different kind of show tonight

There was as much talk at UCLA basketball practice this week about what size crowd the Bruins would draw for Michigan today as there was about the Wolverines themselves.

What is expected to be a sellout crowd – including Jessica Alba and Vince Vaughn – shouldn’t expect a show like the one in Lexington against No. 1 Kentucky a week ago. Michigan plays some of the slowest basketball in the country. And it’s made them an “upper echelon” team in the Big Ten this season.

The question is, will UCLA allow the slow pace to frustrate it and throw the up-tempo Bruins off their game? Now that UCLA is ranked No. 2 in the country, they can expect to get Michigan’s best shot today as they try to reach 10-0.

“We’re going to have a target on our back not only being No. 2 in the country, but when you wear the four letters that we do, you always have that target,” senior Bryce Alford said. “I think we’ll be prepared for it.”

Read the preview story for No. 2 UCLA (9-0) versus Michigan (7-2)

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Brown, McKinley, Quessenberry named to AP’s All-Pac-12 first team

Linebacker Jayon Brown runs drills at practice in San Bernardino. Photo by Rachel Luna/San Bernardino Sun

Linebacker Jayon Brown runs drills at practice in San Bernardino. Photo by Rachel Luna/San Bernardino Sun

Linebacker Jayon Brown, defensive end Takkarist McKinley and center Scott Quessenberry added AP first-team All-Pac-12 selections to their postseason award hauls on Friday.

UCLA’s pair of defensive stars were unanimous first-team selections.

The trio of players also earned All-Pac-12 first team honors as voted by the conference’s coaches while Brown and McKinley were also first-team all-conference selections by Pro Football Focus and ESPN.com.

Tight end Nate Iese was named to AP’s All-Pac-12 second team. Iese, who was voted second team All-Pac-12 by the coaches, was third on the team with 25 receptions and 400 receiving yards for four touchdowns in his first year at tight end.

Here is a full list of the selections: Continue reading

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UCLA one step closer to shade at Rose Bowl

UCLA's student section could be moving to new seats this season. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

UCLA’s student section could be moving to new seats this season. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

After positive results from a student survey, the UCLA football team could be moving from the sunny side of the Rose Bowl sooner rather than later.

Of 1,342 respondents in a survey conducted by The Den and UCLA athletics in November, 61 percent of said they would prefer moving student seating at the Rose Bowl for UCLA football games to the north end zone from its current position in the northeast corner of the field. Seventy-five percent of respondents also indicated that they would be as likely or more likely to attend games if the student section was moved.

In the current set up at the Rose Bowl, the UCLA football team is required to use the sun-drenched east sideline due to a Pac-12 rule prohibiting student sections from being behind opposing benches. Moving The Den to the north end zone (between sections 8H and 15L in the lower bowl) would then free the football team to move to the shadier west sideline as early as this upcoming season. Continue reading

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Takkarist McKinley, Jayon Brown lead UCLA’s All-Pac-12 selections

Senior Takkarist McKinley is getting ready to finish his UCLA career with a homecoming to the Bay Area. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/ Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Senior Takkarist McKinley had a breakout year at defensive end for the Bruins. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Press-Telegram/ Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley and linebacker Jayon Brown were named first-team All-Pac-12 by Pro Football Focus and ESPN.com.

Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes and linebacker Kenny Young were named to PFF’s All-Pac-12 second team.

McKinley and Brown were also in the running for SB Nation’s All-American team. The senior defensive end finished ninth in SB Nation’s voting for his position while Brown finished eighth among linebackers.

McKinley led the Bruins with 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Brown led the conference in tackling (119) and had the first 100-tackle season for a UCLA player since Erik Kendricks in 2014. Vanderdoes, who declared for the NFL draft despite an extra year of eligibility, returned from ACL surgery to start 12 games for the Bruins this year, tallying 29 total tackles. Young was second on the team in tackling (90), tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (5.0).

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Lonzo Ball could be part of best ever draft class of point guards

UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball and Kentucky's Malik Monk (5) are two of the four point guards projected to be picked in the top five of the 2017 NBA draft

UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball and Kentucky’s Malik Monk (5) are two of the four point guards projected to be picked in the top five of the 2017 NBA draft

Should he turn pro after this season, could Lonzo Ball be part of the best draft class of point guards ever?

Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron asks this question after Ball outplayed not one, but two Kentucky point guards expected to join him in the 2017 NBA draft. Malik Monk is playing out of position at Kentucky because De’Aaron Fox is that good. But neither Ball, Fox nor Monk are expected to be among the top two point guards selected in the draft.

Ball will face off with the top point guard prospect in Pac-12 play when UCLA visits Seattle Feb 4. Washington freshman Markelle Fultz is projected to be top pick in the next NBA draft by Draft Express followed by N.C. State freshman point guard Dennis Smith at No. 2.

Ball is currently projected as the fourth pick and Monk the fifth pick. Kansas freshman Josh Jackson is the only player in the Draft Express top five who isn’t a point guard.

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