The UCLA men’s basketball team will take any win it can get at this point, but how it looked on Monday night against UNLV doesn’t inspire much confidence.
If the Runnin’ Rebels — which has missed two straight NCAA Tournaments and is coming off a seventh-place finish in the Mountain West — took the Bruins down to the wire in a 77-75 decision, what exactly will No. 5 Kansas due tomorrow night?
UCLA deserves credit in at least a couple of areas. Its 3-2 zone defense held UNLV to 41 percent from the field. It was nearly flawless at the free throw line, hitting 23 straight after point guard Bryce Alford’s first miss.
There were several other causes for concern. The biggest was the disappearance of senior Tony Parker, who had opened the season with three straight double-doubles. The Bruins had tried to use both its centers in the same lineup this season, playing Parker next to 7-foot sophomore Thomas Welsh. That wasn’t possible against UNLV, as Parker faded back into his foul-troubled self of old. Continue reading →
Q: How do you think UCLA will finish season? And which bowl will UCLA go to?
A: It’s hard to say at this point. I’ve covered UCLA since 2012, and this is probably as poor a feel as I’ve ever had for the team’s outlook. I could see the Bruins winning out, splitting, or losing out its final two regular-season games with little surprise at any outcome.
So, let’s break down the possible scenarios:
1) UCLA loses out. I think this would likely place the Bruins in the Las Vegas Bowl.
2) UCLA splits. The Sun Bowl now has the fifth selection out of the Pac-12, which seems like a reasonable landing spot for a 7-5 team.
3) UCLA wins out. If the Bruins then also win the Pac-12 Championship, they would obviously be in the Rose Bowl. But if they lost that title game, I think they would get placed in the Holiday Bowl. The Alamo Bowl has the second selection out of the conference, but UCLA just played there last year.
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most likely): What would you say UCLA’s chances were of beating Utah with Devontae Booker? What would you say UCLA’s chances are of beating Utah without Devontae Booker?
A: I probably would’ve given UCLA a 4 or a 5 before Booker went down. I’d move that up to 7.5 or so now. Continue reading →
UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford confirmed on Tuesday that he will take his son, point guard Bryce Alford, off scholarship if necessary to sign the team’s celebrated 2016 recruiting class.
The Bruins signed four players to letters of intent last week, securing five-star prospects in point guard Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf as well as four-star recruits in center Ike Anigbogu and swingman Kobe Paras.
It was the addition of Leaf, who decommitted from Arizona in August, that will likely make it necessary for Bryce to walk on as a senior. UCLA is currently two spots below the NCAA’s 13-scholarship limit, and is only projected to lose senior big man Tony Parker after this season.
“He’s had no issue with that,” Steve Alford said of Bryce. “His whole issue was, ‘Coach, make sure he can really play.’ T.J. can really play, so he fits the mold.”
The move would echo that of Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who was already a two-time All-American when he walked on to free up a scholarship spot for Grant Gibbs in 2013-14. His father, Greg McDermott, is now in his sixth year as the Bluejays’ coach.