Game GIFs: UCLA 38, Oregon State 24

It wasn’t pretty, but the Bruins will take it. UCLA played inconsistently in a win over Oregon State to snap a four-game losing streak heading into next week’s rivalry matchup.

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Five questions: The Oregonian’s Gina Mizell on Oregon State

Oregon State is in its second year under Gary Andersen and has started to take steps forward. In a sentiment that many UCLA fans are familiar with, the Beavers say they’re “close” to a breakthrough. The Oregonian’s Gina Mizell answered a few questions about OSU, its quarterback carousel and what a successful year might look like in Corvallis.

1. What were the expectations for a successful year for Oregon State at the beginning of the season and how far away are the Beavers from those expectations?

I actually wrote about that exact topic — how the Beavers would define success in Year 2 of Andersen’s rebuild — before the season and got a variety of answers from players and coaches. Of course, wins and losses are the ultimate indicator, but this season was also going to be about progress after Andersen brought a new offensive and defensive scheme to Corvallis when he was hired and has been revamping the culture. I projected this team to go 3-9, with wins against Idaho State, Cal and Arizona and multiple close games. So far that’s played out, and I think most reasonable fans would have projected something similar. But now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Beavers won two out of their last three, which would be a nice springboard into 2017. This team is clearly better than last season, though I think the biggest disappointment is that the offense — particularly, the passing game — has been poor again this season. Continue reading

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UCLA 2016 schedule preview: Oregon State

Oregon State quarterback Nick Mitchell fumbles the ball while being tackled by a pair of UCLA defenders in the first half of an NCAA football game, in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez)

Oregon State quarterback Nick Mitchell fumbles the ball while being tackled by a pair of UCLA defenders in the first half of an NCAA football game, in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez)

Continuing the look at UCLA’s 2016 schedule, here is a breakdown of the Bruins’ 10th opponent, Oregon State.

UCLA vs. Oregon State
Sat. Nov. 12 | Rose Bowl

2015 in review

Oregon State’s first year under Gary Andersen was just plain awful on the field. The Beavers were winless in Pac-12 play (2-10 overall) with their only wins on the season coming against Weber State and San Jose State. The team had a rotating cast of starting quarterbacks with Seth Collins, Nick Mitchell and Marcus McMaryion each starting at least one game. Mitchell, who has since transferred, started at quarterback against UCLA on Oct. 31 when the Bruins shutout the Beavers 41-0. UCLA gained 674 total yards in the rout while Oregon State failed to even reach the red zone once. Continue reading

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UCLA’s loss to Oregon State sets up rematch with USC

UCLA lost their fourth straight game on Saturday, an ugly 86-82 decision against Oregon State that came despite the Beavers being without starting forward Tres Tinkle.

The Bruins finished the regular season with a 15-16 record and 6-12 in the Pac-12 — their worst conference mark since 2002-03, which was the final year of the Steve Lavin era. This loss also sets up a rematch in the Pac-12 Tournament against seventh-seeded USC.

No. 10-seed UCLA, which has already lost twice to the Trojans by 33 combined points, will tip off against its crosstown rival again on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

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Can UCLA basketball’s defense keep up with faster teams?

The UCLA men's basketball team has struggled on defense this season, particularly against up-tempo teams. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

The UCLA men’s basketball team has struggled on defense this season, particularly against up-tempo teams. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

After a comfortable win at Oregon State on Wednesday, Steve Alford said that UCLA finally “guarded the way that we wanted to guard.” Can the Bruins keep it up?

Both Alford and his players have explained the team’s defensive struggles with terms like “energy” and “demeanor” — suggesting that the problem has less to do with matchups than willpower and focus. But there’s another factor that could help clarify UCLA’s inconsistency: pace of play.

Against teams that rank top-100 nationally in adjusted tempo, according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistical rankings, the Bruins have a 2-6 record. Against teams below that, they are 10-1, with the lone loss coming to Washington State.

As for the Beavers? They were the slowest opponent UCLA has faced this season, clocking in at No. 263 with 67.5 possessions per 40 minutes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Bruins have an average scoring margin of -5.5 against teams that average at least 71.0 possessions per 40. When it faces teams that average less than 70.0 possessions, UCLA is cruising along at +7.6 — a figure that doesn’t even factor in their 32-point win over CSUN.

This obviously isn’t a perfect measure, but the data at least echoes how the Bruins’ transition defense has looked according to the eye test. It also helps explain how the team convincingly upset Kentucky, Gonzaga, and Arizona.

Fortunately for UCLA, most of the Pac-12 isn’t running at a breakneck pace. Washington is far and away the leader, ranking fifth in the NCAA at 78.0 possessions. Next in the league is USC, which ranks No. 45 with 72.8.

No one else is even in the top 100. Oregon and Colorado both average 70.3 possessions, just 0.1 behind the Bruins, while Stanford rounds out the league down at 67.1.

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