UCLA men’s basketball makes AP poll debut at No. 22

UCLA’s Norman Powell makes a layup against Long Beach State during a 77-63 win at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 23, 2014. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

It needed four games, but UCLA men’s basketball has made its first appearance in the Associated Press top 25 this season.

The Bruins debuted at No. 22 after beating Long Beach State, 77-63, at on Sunday night. The 49ers provided UCLA with its first real challenge at Pauley Pavilion, closing to within five points with three minutes left. Steve Alford’s team held an 11-point halftime lead, but shot just 37.5 percent from the field and 9-of-18 from the line in the second half.

“That’s the poorest we’ve been coming out of halftime. But we needed this,” Alford said. “We needed to see what happens when someone punches you in the second half.”

The Bruins now travel to the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, opening with a 11:30 a.m. PT tipoff against Oklahoma on Wednesday. They will then face either Butler or No. 5 North Carolina on Thursday, and another team on Friday. The tournament also features No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 18 Florida, and Georgetown.

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UCLA moves up to No. 9 in AP poll after beating USC

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley celebrates UCLA's 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley celebrates UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA was already ranked in the top 10 of the playoff rankings last Tuesday, but the Associated Press voters followed suit after watching it thump USC for the third straight year.

The Bruins moved up two spots to No. 9, the same spot they held in last week’s playoff rankings. The selection committee has consistently placed Pac-12 teams higher than their placements in AP poll, which bodes well for UCLA’s chances to continue creeping up on Tuesday evening.

The Bruins are in the top 10 of the AP poll for the first time since September, when they were ranked eighth following a blowout win at Arizona State. Jim Mora’s squad is currently the second-highest ranked two-loss team, one spot behind Georgia.

Oregon stayed at No. 3, and will play the Bruins for the Pac-12 title if the latter beats Stanford. If UCLA loses, the Ducks will instead face the winner of Arizona vs. Arizona State. Both of those games will kick off Friday at 12:30 p.m. PT.

Utah and USC are both out of the poll entirely, as well as out of the Pac-12 South race.

The Pac-12 and the SEC each have four teams ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll. The Big 12 and the Big Ten have three each, while the ACC’s lone entry is No. 1 Florida State.

See the full Associated Press poll below: Continue reading

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After bye, UCLA moves up to No. 11 in AP poll

After some midseason bumps, everything seems to be falling in place again for UCLA football.

The Bruins moved up another three spots in the Associated Press poll on Sunday, taking the No. 11 spot after spending their bye week watching teams around the country falter.

Arizona State fell six slots to No. 13, with their upset loss to Oregon State clearing a path for UCLA to take the Pac-12 South. Auburn dropped seven spots to No. 16 after getting battered by Georgia. And Nebraska sank like a stone after a 59-24 blowout loss to Wisconsin, from 11th to 21st.

The AP poll won’t have an effect on the Bruins’ chances at a “New Year’s Six” bowl (or a playoff berth), but it bodes well for their placement in Tuesday’s playoff rankings. UCLA was already ranked No. 11 there a week ago, and has consistently placed higher in the eyes of the committee than the AP voters.

See the full AP poll below, which features four other Pac-12 South teams: Continue reading

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UCLA moves back into AP top-15 after win at Washington

A month after falling out of the Associated Press poll, UCLA is back in the top-15.

The Bruins’ 44-30 win at Washington was arguably their most complete performance of the season, earning them a four-spot bump to No. 14 in the country. UCLA had jumped seven spots in the previous poll following their win against No. 17 Arizona.

With two games left at the Rose Bowl after the upcoming bye week, the Bruins have a decent chance at winning out against USC and Stanford. But even a 10-win regular-season might not be enough for the Pac-12 South title. UCLA needs Arizona State, ranked No. 7 after beating Notre Dame, to lose one of its last three conference games to inch ahead in the division.

Oregon is still the Pac-12′s highest-ranked team, moving up two spots to No. 3 after a 51-27 win at Utah. The Utes fell to No. 25.

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UCLA jumps seven spots to No. 18 in Associated Press poll

Quarterback Brett Hundley celebrates UCLA's 17-7 win over Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Rose Bowl. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Quarterback Brett Hundley celebrates UCLA’s 17-7 win over Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Rose Bowl. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

All the hype surrounding UCLA football dissipated a month ago, but the Bruins are quietly making sure they stay on the national consciousness.

The Bruins moved up seven spots to No. 18 in the Associated Press poll after holding offoff Arizona in 17-7 win — one that never felt in danger in the final minutes due to a strong defensive performance. It was their largest jump in the poll this season, as well as the largest of any team this week.

UCLA still has little room for error in a tight Pac-12 South race. Even if the Bruins win out against Washington, USC and Stanford, it needs one-loss Arizona State to drop one more game. The Sun Devils remaining conference schedule consists of Oregon State and Washington State — two of the Pac-12′s worst teams — as well as their rival Wildcats.

See the full AP poll below: Continue reading

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UCLA moves back into Associated Press poll after beating Cal

UCLA’s absence from the national rankings didn’t last long.

A 36-34 win at Cal moves the Bruins moved into the Associated Press poll at No. 25. The team had fallen out completely from No. 18 a week earlier, following back-to-back losses to Utah and Oregon.

UCLA remains unranked in the USA Today coaches’ poll.

The Ducks remain the Pac-12′s highest-ranked team, jumping three spots to No. 6 after blowing out Washington.

Stanford is now unranked after entering the weekend at No. 23. A loss to Arizona State gave the Cardinal their third of the season.

Full AP poll below: Continue reading

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UCLA unranked in AP poll for first time since Jim Mora’s first season

This is a strange time for the Pac-12.

Stanford, the back-to-back conference champion, has two losses and is ranked No. 23. Arizona and Utah — which entered the season unranked since 2012 and 2010, respectively — are 16th and 20th.

And then there’s UCLA, which just two weeks ago was still a top-ten team.

For the first time since third-year head coach Jim Mora’s debut season, the Bruins have fallen out of the Associated Press completely. A 42-30 loss to Oregon on national television — one in which the Ducks led by as much as 32 — dispelled what little hope UCLA had left for making the inaugural College Football Playoff, dropping the Bruins from No. 18 to “receiving votes.”

They now sit one spot outside the top-25 rankings, with 110 points to No. 25 Marshall’s 148.

UCLA hadn’t been absent from the AP poll since Jan. 8, 2013, the final set of rankings following the 2012 season. The Bruins ended that year with a 49-26 loss to Baylor in the Holiday Bowl and dropped out from No. 17.

The full rankings below: Continue reading

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After loss to Utah, UCLA falls to No. 18 in the Associated Press poll

Jim Mora stands on the field before UCLA's eventual 30-28 loss to Utah at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 4, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Jim Mora stands on the field before UCLA’s eventual 30-28 loss to Utah at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 4, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Poised to move up in the rankings after a slew upsets on Saturday, UCLA instead dropped to No. 18 in the Associated Press poll.

The Bruins lost 30-28 to Utah on Saturday night, a game in which the Utes sacked Brett Hundley 10 times and held off a late comeback attempt. Utah debuted in the rankings at No. 24.

Arizona is now the only undefeated Pac-12 team left, a turn of events that would have stunned any college football pundit before the season started. The Wildcats upset No. 2 Oregon on Thursday, dropping the Ducks to 12th.

Stanford fell 11 spots to No. 25 after losing their second game of the season, a 17-14 decision at Notre Dame. The Cardinal also lost to USC last month, which in turn fell out of the polls after losing to Arizona State on a Hail Mary.

The Sun Devils — blown out by UCLA, 62-27, a week ago — are now ranked 20th.

Full poll below: Continue reading

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UCLA ranked below USC in AP poll for the first time since 2012

For the first time in almost two years, UCLA is ranked below USC.

The Bruins fell a spot to No. 12 in the Associated Press poll following Saturday’s 42-35 win over Memphis — their second straight closer-than-expected victory over a seemingly inferior opponent. UCLA had started the season at No. 7, and was a trendy pick to make the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff.

Meanwhile, USC rose to No. 9 in Sunday’s poll after upsetting Stanford, 13-10, on the road. This is the first time the Trojans have been ranked above UCLA in the AP poll since Oct. 28, 2012, when they were seven spots ahead at No. 18.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Oregon rose a spot to No. 2 — earning 16 first-place votes after a 46-27 blowout of then-No. 7 Michigan State. The Cardinal and Arizona State are ranked 15th and 16th, respectively.

Full Associated Press poll below: Continue reading

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UCLA falls four spots to No. 11 in AP poll, USA Today coaches poll

So much for that top-ten billing.

UCLA fell four spots to No. 11 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls, its 28-20 win at Virginia not nearly matching up to wide expectations of a blowout. Although the Bruins’ defense looked elite in returning touchdowns on two interceptions and a fumble, the offense rarely found its rhythm.

There’s still time for UCLA to fix itself up before Pac-12 play begins, but mustering just one offensive touchdown against the Cavaliers on ESPN dispelled a lot of the national title hype of recent weeks.

Oregon remains the highest-ranked team in the conference at No. 3, while Stanford, USC and Arizona State follow the Bruins at 13th, 14th and 17th, respectively.

See the full AP poll below: Continue reading

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