Men’s basketball starts home-and-home series with Michigan

The UCLA men’s basketball team announced a home-and-home series with Michigan on Friday, which will start in the 2016-17 season.

The Bruins will host Michigan this year at Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 10, then travel to Ann Arbor in December 2017. It will be UCLA’s first game in Ann Arbor since 2007.

“This will be a fantastic matchup for college basketball fans, given the opportunity to watch a pair of tradition-rich programs from two marquee conferences battle it out before league play,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “I know our players are already looking forward to the challenge.”

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NCAA releases academic progress rates

All of UCLA’s athletic teams were well above the minimum to avoid penalty when the NCAA released its latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) numbers Wednesday.

UCLA football was fourth in the Pac-12 in multiyear APR with a four-year average of 972 (out of a perfect 1000). Utah and Stanford tied for the top spot with an APR of 983. The football team’s 2014-15 APR was 963.

Head coach Jim Mora, per the contract extension he received in 2013, gets a bonus of $25,000 for the team’s APR, which was higher than 930 for the 2014-15 year.

In men’s basketball, Utah and Stanford both had perfect multiyear APRs of 1000 to lead the conference. The UCLA men’s basketball team was seventh in the conference with a multiyear APR of 962. UCLA’s score for the 2014-15 season was 942.

The mark, which exceeded the 930 score denoted in men’s basketball head coach Steve Alford’s 2014 contract extension, earns the coach a $10,000 bonus. The extension changed the APR requirement from 925 in his original contract to 930, and, according to the L.A. Times, the change was the only thing in the extension that survived when Alford returned the deal following this season’s 15-17 result.

For the other sports, men’s volleyball, men’s water polo and women’s golf led the Bruins with perfect 1000 multiyear APR scores. No team was lower had a four-year average than 960, with men’s basketball having the lowest APR at UCLA.

More about how APR is calculated, per NCAA.

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Wasserman Football Center, Mo Ostin Basketball Center scheduled for 2017 openings

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero (center) talked on Tuesday about Steve Alford and the state of the Bruins' men's basketball program. (Brad Graverson/Staff)

The Wasserman Football Center and the Mo Ostin Basketball Center have been scheduled for openings in 2017. (Brad Graverson/Staff)

The Wasserman Football Center is scheduled to be completed by the end of summer 2017, UCLA announced Thursday, while the Mo Ostin Basketball Center is slated for a fall 2017 opening.

According to a press release, the athletic department has raised more than $57 million in private funds for the football facility, which is currently being constructed on the west side of Spaulding Field. The goal for private funds is $65 million. The Wasserman Football Center will be the practice and training home for the football team on campus.

More than $17 million has been raised for the Mo Ostin Basketball Center, which will house both the men’s and women’s basketball programs. There is about $7 million left until the private funding goal of $25 million for the basketball center.

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UCLA’s Thomas Welsh named to Pac-12 All-Academic second team

UCLA center Thomas Welsh is the first Bruin named to a Pac-12 All-Academic team since 2010. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Archive)

UCLA center Thomas Welsh is the first Bruin named to a Pac-12 All-Academic team since 2010. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Archive)

Thomas Welsh has been named to the Pac-12 All-Academic second team, becoming the first UCLA men’s basketball player to receive such honors since 2010.

The sophomore center maintained a 3.18 GPA in economics while averaging 11.2 points and 8.5 rebounds this past season. He led the team with 10 double-doubles, but head coach Steve Alford never found a way to best utilize both him and senior big man Tony Parker in the same lineup en route to a 15-17 record.

Welsh is the first Bruin to win conference academic honors since Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, a little-used reserve who earned a first-team nod with a 3.81 GPA in global studies. Malcolm Lee made the second team behind him that same season.

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UCLA center Ikenna Okwarabizie undergoes shoulder surgery

UCLA center Ikenna Okwarabizie will be sidelined for six months after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound reserve joined the Bruins this past season after spending a year at Tyler Junior College in Texas. He only made seven appearances as a sophomore, grabbing four rebounds in 13 minutes.

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