How I voted in the AP college basketball poll: UCLA third

Nobody can call UCLA’s schedule soft after the Bruins paid a visit to Rupp Arena on Saturday. It didn’t hurt that Kentucky was No. 1 when UCLA took down the Wildcats, 97-92, but what most impressed me was that the Bruins did it in such a hostile environment.

In most cases, college-age athletes are far more susceptible to the affects of a raucous crowd than professionals. And this is a UCLA team with three true freshman playing large roles, including your starting point guard. I somehow still ranked UCLA lower than its landing spot in the AP poll, but we are now talking about Westwood being home to a national championship contender and one of the best teams in the country.

How I voted in the Week 5 AP poll:
1. Villanova
2. Baylor
3. UCLA

There is a good argument for UCLA to be ranked No. 1 in the country given that they beat Kentucky on the road and Villanova’s best win is at Purdue. But Baylor has played a tougher schedule than any of the top three.
4. Kansas
5. Duke Continue reading

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UCLA weekend recap: Men’s, women’s basketball rise in polls

UCLA men’s basketball notched a signature win over then-No. 1 Kentucky and rose nine spots to No. 2 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches’ Polls. The Bruins are ranked in the top 2 for the first time since Nov. 26, 2007.

In other news around UCLA athletics:

  • Women’s basketball continued its home winning streak with a 72-49 win over Hawai’i on Sunday. The Bruins (6-1) have won 17th in a row at Pauley Pavilion and moved up one spot to No. 9 in the AP Poll on Monday.
  • Women’s volleyball advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 first-round win over Murray State (21-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-9) and a 3-0 sweep over Baylor (25-21, 25-20, 25-20). The 10th-seeded Bruins face No. 7 North Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Friday.
  • Men’s water polo lost in the NCAA semifinals, falling 9-8 to Cal in overtime. It was UCLA’s third loss in the final four games of the season after the Bruins set an NCAA record with 57 straight wins. Cal beat No. 1 USC in in overtime for the national championship.
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UCLA’s win over Kentucky vaults Bruins to No. 2 in the country

UCLA's win at Kentucky Saturday earned the Bruins a No. 2 ranking in the AP poll

UCLA’s win at Kentucky Saturday earned the Bruins a No. 2 ranking in the AP poll

UCLA was handsomely rewarded by the poll voters for its victory over Kentucky on Saturday in the program’s first game ever in historic Rupp Arena.

The Bruins moved up nine spots to No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, their first time in the top five since 2008. They are ranked only behind No. 1 Villanova, the defending national champions. Here is my story with more details about the historic rise in the polls.

Kentucky, which was No. 1 when UCLA defeated it, 97-92, dropped to No. 6 in he AP poll. Villanova received 57 of the 65 first-place votes, but UCLA earned two first-place votes. No. 3 Baylor, which began the season unranked, received the remaining six first-place votes.

Week 5 Associated Press men’s college basketball poll:
1. Villanova (57)
2. UCLA (2)
3. Kansas
4. Baylor (6)
5. Duke
6. Kentucky Continue reading

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UCLA coaches hit the recruiting trail

UCLA football coaches are hitting the recruiting trail hard without a bowl game to worry about this month. Several coaches paid in-home visits as well as hosted recruits for official visits in the past few days. Here are a few:

Martin Andrus Jr., Los Angeles High, DT

  • Four-star recruit according to Scout, three-star according to 247 Sports and Rivals
  • Has offers from several other Pac-12 schools, including Oregon and USC.

Tayler Katoa, Layton (Utah) High, Ath

  • Four-star recruit according to Scout, three-star according to 247 Sports and Rivals
  • One of the top recruits in Utah
  • Plays both quarterback and linebacker/defensive end, but projects mostly on defense
  • List of contenders includes Washington, USC, Boise State, Utah and BYU

DeAndre McNeal, Fullerton College, WR

  • A former Texas receiver, McNeal was suspended indefinitely by head coach Charlie Strong on Aug. 3, 2016 for an undisclosed violation of team rules
  • McNeal was a three- to four-star recruit in the class of 2015 out of Poteet (Texas) High and played in 10 games as a true freshman, but didn’t record a catch

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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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