Wooden Legacy tournament MVP Lonzo Ball helped UCLA climb three more spots in the AP poll.
UCLA has climbed three spots in the AP poll each of the last two weeks, landing at No. 11 this week. The Bruins proved their freshmen can deliver in close games, but I’m most interested in the way they’ve won against opponents with contrasting strengths. For example, UCLA didn’t have a player who could matchup with Texas A&M preseason All-SEC center Tyler Davis. But the Bruins found ways not to get dominated in the paint or on the boards by a physically superior Aggies team.
UCLA still has plenty to prove, which is why I don’t have them ranked as high on my ballot, but it deserves credit for finding ways to beat every team on the schedule seven games into the season.
How I voted: 1. Kentucky
6. North Carolina
I was a late arrival to the Baylor party because I wasn’t convinced by the win over Oregon sans Dillon Brooks. But two more wins over ranked teams this week, including Louisville, and maybe Kansas better start watching its back in the Big 12. 9. St. Mary’s
The Bruins achieved their first two wins over power 5 opponents this week. While Texas A&M and Nebraska aren’t world beaters, UCLA handled its business and proved its freshmen can deliver in close games. Continue reading →
Offensive lineman Conor McDermott and defensive end Takkarist McKinley accepted invitations to play in the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl on Monday.
The pair of Bruins will participate in the showcase event on Jan. 28, 2017.
McKinley had a strong season in his final year at UCLA, finishing with a team-leading 18 tackles and 10 sacks. He had a season-high five tackles for loss against Utah, but was held without one for the final two games of the year.
McDermott started every game at left tackle for the Bruins this season, one of only two offensive linemen to make it through the entire year.
It’s not like they’re toppling the best teams in the country (Wait for it…UCLA plays at No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday!) but these are major conference opponents that pushed the Bruins to provide answers to some significant questions. Most notably, could freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf answer the bell in close games? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Continue reading →
Offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu works through drills with fullback Cameron Griffin. Photo by Brad Graverson // Daily Breeze
About 17 hours after UCLA left Cal’s Memorial Stadium with its worst season since 2010, the school announced that offensive coordinator and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu would not return next year.
Polamalu’s contract will not be renewed after UCLA’s new offense proved to be one of the worst in recent school history. The team ended the year at 127th out of 128 FBS teams in rushing and couldn’t even reach the 100-yard rushing mark against Cal’s defense, which was also ranked 127th in the country entering Saturday’s game.
The school said it will begin its search for a replacement immediately.