UCLA 68, Stanford 60: ‘Bazz rises to challenge

The Bruins slugged their way to another low-scoring game in the Pac-12′s opening weekend, combining with Stanford to shoot just 31.4 percent in the first half.

Even when it should have coasted to victory with a double-digit lead, UCLA left the door open with four straight missed free throws. It took a boneheaded decision by Stanford to call a non-existent timeout to truly seal the win.

“Any win is beautiful,” Ben Howland said afterward.

Except that isn’t the case anymore. The embarrassing Cal Poly loss in November involved a team that looks nothing like the one that now calls Pauley Pavilion home. This current incarnation of UCLA basketball has improved to the point where just getting a win isn’t enough. Young talent is gelling and, when the transition game works in peak form, the Bruins look like a team that could knock off a couple of teams in March. Continue reading

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UCLA vs. Indiana State: What to Watch

No. 13 UCLA opens its new stadium Friday night against Indiana State, a team picked because it was John Wooden’s only other coaching stop. The Sycamores return only one starter from a squad that went 8-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Here are some things to keep an eye on as the Bruins face an opponent that will provide more symbolism than challenges. Continue reading

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