Oregon is UCLA’s best remaining shot at quality win

Dillon Brooks’ last-second 3-pointer on Dec. 28 cost UCLA a win at Oregon

UCLA has the largest disparity between its ranking (10) and RPI (21) of any team in the Associated Press top 10. Only West Virginia (13/33) has a larger disparity in the entire top 25.

In other words, it’s easy to argue the Bruins are getting more credit than they deserve.

UCLA’s chances to boost that RPI are running out. Tonight’s game against No. 5 Oregon at Pauley Pavilion may be its best opportunity to not only add to the resume, but provide convincing evidence UCLA is among the nation’s elite.

The Bruins have two wins against teams with a top-50 RPI: Kentucky (13) and Cal (36). It can be argued that a road win at Kentucky is the only significant feather in UCLA’s cap. For example, Cal lost by 23 at Oregon on Jan. 19.

Of course, Oregon was lucky to beat UCLA on Dillon Brooks’ 3-pointer with .08 seconds left in the Bruins’ first conference game. But despite 21 wins and just three losses, even those shiny totals make it difficult for UCLA to argue it’s a championship-caliber team.

READ: Preview of No. 5 Oregon at No. 10 UCLA

Aside from Kentucky, the Bruins’ nonconference wins simply haven’t held up. It’s not UCLA’s fault, but RPI numbers aren’t much help from Ohio State (69), Michigan (75) and Texas A&M (93), meaning it has to largely prove itself in conference play.

So far, it is winless in two games against the Pac-12’s elite, Oregon and Arizona. It plays at Arizona on Feb. 25 and could easily get another shot or two at either team in the Pac-12 tournament, but tonight is its last home game against the class of its conference.

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UCLA hires Jimmie Dougherty as WR coach

Jimmie Dougherty was a offensive analyst at Michigan in 2016 and worked with now UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press)

(Updated Feb. 8, 11:33 a.m. — UCLA announces hire officially)

UCLA hired former Oregon wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty for the same position Wednesday, the school announced.

Dougherty, who held his job with the Ducks for about seven weeks, was an offensive analyst at Michigan last year, where he worked with current UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Dougherty will serve also as passing game coordinator for the Bruins.

“Knowing Jimmie since 2009 and having been able to see him in action at practice, during games and in the meeting room, it’s exciting to add a coach of his caliber to our staff,” head coach Jim Mora said in a statement.

Dougherty is the fourth new offensive coach for the Bruins this season, including Fisch, Hank Fraley (offensive line) and DeShaun Foster (running backs). The only remaining offensive coach from the previous year is tight ends coach Rip Scherer.

Dougherty has previous Pac-12 coaching experience at Washington, where he coached receivers from 2009-12 under Steve Sarkisian. He was an assistant head coach, receivers coach and passing game coordinator at San Jose State from 2013-15.

During his short tenure at Oregon, Dougherty helped the Ducks rope in four receivers for their 2017 recruiting class. He is also the second assistant coach to leave within the past week, as co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach David Reaves resigned last Friday following an arrest for multiple traffic violations, including DUII, on Jan. 22. Dougherty was a passenger in the car at the time, according to the Oregonian, but was not charged with any crimes.

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UCLA-committed LaMelo Ball scores 92 points after loss

UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball said he didn’t throw any jabs at his two younger brothers after the Chino Hills High School’s basketball team’s 60-game win streak was snapped on Saturday.

The next time they took the court, youngest brother LaMelo Ball scored 92 points on Tuesday night in a 146-122 win over Los Osos High. The sophomore made 37 of 61 field goals (61 percent) and added a cool seven assists. Lonzo Ball showed his appreciation on twitter:

With senior LiAngelo Ball, who scored 72 in a game earlier this season, sitting out to rest up for the playoffs, LaMelo took advantage. The youngest of the Ball brothers didn’t do most of his damage from 3-point range, making 30 of his 39 attempts from inside the arc.

LaMelo Ball, who famously made a half-court shot in the middle of a game earlier this season, was 7 of 22 from 3-point range Tuesday night. He had 29 points at halftime and scored 41 of his 92 in the fourth quarter. High school quarters are eight minutes long. Continue reading

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Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf focused on NCAA, not Pac-12 title

No. 10 UCLA trails No. 5 Oregon by two games in the Pac-12 standings.

Two days before a game the UCLA basketball team seemingly needs to win to retain hope for a Pac-12 regular season championship, the Bruins’ two best players said they were more focused on a larger goal.

No. 10 UCLA will host No. 5 Oregon on Thursday trailing the Ducks by two games in the conference standings, but Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf are more concerned about how the game effects their preparation for the NCAA tournament.

“Since the beginning of the season the focus was to win a national championship, not the Pac-12 title,” Ball said. “We’re just trying to get ready for March.”

Oregon handed UCLA its first loss of the season on Dec. 28 when Dillon Brooks made a 3-pointer with .08 seconds left in the Ducks’ 89-87 win in Eugene, Ore. UCLA proceeded to lose three of its first nine Pac-12 games, making a conference title difficult to achieve with Arizona and Oregon having lost just one conference game apiece with seven remaining.

The freshman duo of Ball and Leaf was downplaying the rematch when speaking with the media on Tuesday. Continue reading

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Women’s basketball snaps 16-game road losing streak to Stanford

Jordin Canada and Monique Billings led No. 13 UCLA to its first road win over Stanford since 1999 as the Bruins knocked off No. 8 Stanford 85-76 on Monday in Maples Pavilion.

Canada scored 25 points with five assists and three steals. Billings had her 13th double-double of the season with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Kari Korver added 17 points, sinking 5 of 7 3-point shots.

The Bruins (18-5, 9-3 Pac-12) ended a 16-game road losing streak against Stanford and a 15-game road losing streak to ranked opponents. After a 21-game losing streak to Stanford, UCLA now has back-to-back victories over the Cardinal, including a 56-35 win at Pauley Pavilion last season.

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