Oregon State (15-12, 7-8) at UCLA (21-7, 10-5)
When: Sunday, 6 p.m., Pauley Pavilion TV: FOX Sports 1 (Rob Stone, Jarron Collins) Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)
No. 1: Will Zach LaVine handle the ball more? Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams are returning after their one-game suspensions on Thursday, so LaVine won’t get anywhere close to the 17 shots he took in the double-overtime loss to Oregon.
But it’s about more than just his point total. His father, Paul, has been long insistent that the 6-foot-4 freshman is a point guard. LaVine’s brief stint there against the Ducks didn’t disprove that argument. Late in regulation, Bryce Alford and LaVine swapped roles in the backcourt, with the latter taking the reins of the offense.
Alford has been serviceable as a backup point, but he could be even more effective as a two guard — where he can move off the ball and get better looks. The two 3-pointers he hit during the last 33 seconds of the second half were both assisted by LaVine. More importantly, though, is that giving the ball makes LaVine much more comfortable and better utilize his athleticism. Continue reading →
Another trip, another split. For the second time in conference play, UCLA squandered a chance to claw up the standings by dropping the tail end of a road series.
The Bruins fell 71-67 at Oregon State, and t here were few excuses available this time. The loss at Utah last month — one that followed a win at then-No. 21 Colorado — came with an additional flight from Denver to Salt Lake City; Corvallis is less than an hour’s drive from Eugene. The Utes’ Huntsman Center is among the rowdiest venues in the conference; Gill Coliseum draws an average of 3,897, the second-worst showing in the Pac-12.
And to top it all off, coach Steve Alford had an extra day to prepare heading into an 11:30 a.m. Sunday tipoff.
Just about everything that could have gone wrong did. After holding the Beavers to 35.3 percent shooting through the bulk of the first half, UCLA’s zone defense began to crack. Continue reading →
– After an upset of Stanford, many USC players called for the school to retain Ed Orgeron as head coach. NBC Sports’ Chris Huston, also known as the Heisman Pundit, argues against removing the “interim” tag.
– Utah quarterback Travis Wilson’s career might be over after a post-concussion exam revealed a pre-existing neurological condition.
For the first time since 2007, UCLA will open the season ranked in the AP top 25.
The Bruins slotted in at No. 21 in the country in the Associated Press preseason poll, the same spot they held in the previously released USA Today Coaches Poll. UCLA last made the preseason rankings in 2007, when they clocked in at No. 14.
It is also the first time since 2001 that AP voters put UCLA above USC, 24th, in a preseason poll. Ranked No. 14 in the country, the Bruins opened the season with a 20-17 win at Alabama. For perspective, Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’” was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 that weekend, Jeepers Creepers opened No. 1 at the box office, and Will Ferrell was still on SNL.
Oregon and Stanford unsurprisingly led the Pac-12 ranked third and fourth, respectively. Oregon State is No. 25.
Here are the full results of the Pac-12 preseason media poll, with first-place votes in parentheses. Few surprises down the line, as Oregon was named both the North Division and conference favorite. UCLA was named the South Division favorite, and also receive three votes as the Pac-12 champion.