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Posts Tagged ‘UCLA Bruins’

PAC-10 Power Rankings: Week Five

Posted by naterb on December 7, 2009

Most seasons if you lose a close game, you’re going to drop a spot or two in the conference power rankings. Most seasons if you get blown out on the road you’re going to drop in the power rankings as well. But this isn’t most seasons.

The PAC-10 is down a significant amount, there’s no question about it. It is down so much that losing on your home court to a team that finished ninth in the Big-12 actually solidifies a higher spot in the power rankings.  It’s still early, but things are certainly starting to take form in the conference. Read the rest of this entry »


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One Less Big Man

Posted by naterb on December 2, 2009

If things weren’t bad enough for the Bruins this season, breaking news makes the teams outlook even worse.

Forward/Center Drew Gordon will be transferring away from UCLA at the winter break, and is no longer a part of the Bruins team. This, apparently is by mutual agreement.

“After several discussions with Drew, we both have decided that it is in the best interests of our program and Drew that he continues his career at another school.” -Ben Howland

Some may take this as a sign of the rats jumping ship from a Bruins team that has struggled immensely already this season. That is wrong on two accounts. First, the Bruins are likely to turn the season around, and secondly this wasn’t a surprise to Howland and Co. which means that it was an internal issue.

According to Andy Katz over at ESPN, the issue was Gordon’s attitude being viewed as “detrimental” to the team.” I don’t see any other explanation for the departure, and Gordon clearly wasn’t happy with things in UCLA – particularly Ben Howland.

At this point, Gordon has not announced his destination, though San Diego State has been rumored. I believe it would be more likely he would wind up at UNLV who are in desperate need of inside rebounding presence. One way or another, it could be interesting to see where Gordon winds up – but I doubt it except for the team that gets him.

As for the Bruins, they now face replacing their third-leading scorer (11.2) and second-leading rebounder (5.3). That is a big hole to fill, and one that could have given them an advantage in a conference that is thin in the middle.

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PAC-10 Power Rankings: Week Four

Posted by naterb on December 1, 2009

Last week I gave UCLA the benefit of the doubt in keeping them in the top half of the conference, but it appears as though I shouldn’t have. The Bruins are in bad shape with or without Dragovic and have taken the biggest hit in these rankings of the year dropping four spots this week.

The thing about all of this though, is you can pretty much throw all of it out the window once conference play starts. But we’ll go along pretending I have a clue as to what’s going on. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dragovic returns…

Posted by naterb on November 29, 2009

I believe I’ve already made it clear how poor UCLA’s start is, and after UCLA’s 47-74 drubbing at the hands of Portland things looked even worse. Then the following night, the Bruins showed signs of life by pushing Butler to the final minute.  So what’s with the Jekyll & Hyde act that the Bruins only wins are against Cal State-Bakersfield and Pepperdine? Simply put, it’s the senior leadership they receive from Nikolai Dragovic.

Dragovic anchors a ridiculously young team that has too much potential and not enough experience to make a whole lot of noise this season. Unfortunately, the Bruins have floundered without Dragovic in the lineup. Which is why Howland brought Dragovic back despite the investigation into his October altercation being incomplete – a decision I completely disagree with for the sake of the integrity of the team. Sure, Dragovic scored 14 and led the Bruins against Butler, and will recapture his starting role in the near future. But in an age of college basketball that has more controversy than not, is it really worth it for the Bruins to risk it simply for a few wins until their freshman can catch up, especially when other schools are seeing investigations of this nature through before making decisions?

Howland is making a huge mistake. Dragovic has already been accused once, but his live-in girlfriend opted not to pursue charges. And while the rumor is that Dragovic was the victim, and not the attacker in the most recent incident, it doesn’t change the fact that Dragovic wasn’t smart enough to just walk away, report it to security, or take numerous other avenues. Garland Judkins was effectively suspended for the year under Russ Pennell for the same type of decision.

It’s a shame really, that Howland after cherrishing so much success over the past few years is utterly incapable of enduring a few weeks or even a whole season without compromising the integrity of the program.

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PAC-10 Power Rankings: Week 3

Posted by naterb on November 25, 2009

It has certainly been a bizzare week of PAC-10 basketball. With so many teams struggling out of the gate it not only looks like the PAC-10 is down, but it is way down. But as I said earlier, withhold your judgement. Afterall, do you really trust records that put Arizona State (4-0) as the top team in the conference?

That is the very reason I do the Power Rankings, because the quality of a team isn’t just in wins and losses… Read the rest of this entry »

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UCLA loses despite win

Posted by naterb on November 21, 2009

Final 1 2 T
Cal State Bakersfield (1-2) 35 29 64
UCLA (1-1) « 35 40 75
Dragovic is just criminal. Photo from the L.A. Times

Just Criminal. photo from: L.A. Times

Despite winning 75-65 to Cal State Bakersfield, UCLA suffered a huge setback Friday when senior forward Nikola Dragovic was arrested for an “incident” last month, and consequently suspended Friday.

And since this isn’t the first time Dragovic has been in trouble, the suspension is sure to last longer than just a single game against Cal State-Bakersfield. The question is: how long will the Bruins only returning starter be out? According to Howland, that will be determined as more information becomes available. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quick Weekend (2) Preview

Posted by naterb on November 20, 2009

There have been some surprises the first week, but for the most part the games have gone as expected. This weekend isn’t going to be a highlight weekend for the PAC-10, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to keep track of.

Don’t want to be a whipping boy

First off, let me just say that I wouldn’t want to be Cal State-Bakersfield tonight when they face of against UCLA. After coming off an embarrassing season-opening loss, the Bruins will look to make a statement. What better way than against an Independent school that just can’t muster the talent to keep up with the Bruins. Should they perform a miracle and manage to literally steal one, the Bruins will be in for a LONG season. But don’t bet on it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Give it Time

Posted by naterb on November 20, 2009

On a far-too-regular basis I troll through the college basketball message boards on While I have found individual team pages to boast fans that are both insightful and knowledgeable, I have found that the main college basketball message board touts more incompetent homers that jump to conclusions and attempt to deal with absolutes based upon a game or two than I can deal with.

We are just eleven days into the basketball season, and already the proclamations about the PAC-10 being inferior have begun. Sure, the PAC-10 has gone just 18-7 so far. Cal, the projected second team in the conference, has suffered a blow out loss to Syracuse. UCLA was beaten at home, and Oregon State is far worse than expected. Read the rest of this entry »

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PAC-10 Power Rankings: Week 2

Posted by naterb on November 19, 2009

**This week’s Power Rankings are only for the games THROUGH Sunday, November 15.**

It is still really early in the season, but there are a few things of note already, but really not much change in the power rankings this week. Just two major ones moves. Read the rest of this entry »

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PAC-10 Power Rankings: Week 1

Posted by naterb on November 7, 2009

p10 power rankings

  1. Washington Huskies – Reigning conference champs have lost a little, but have added a great recruiting class. They deserve this spot until Cal or someone else can wrestle it away from them.
  2. Cal Golden Bears – After returning almost their entire roster Cal looks primed for a charge to the top of the conference. They’ll need more production from their bench if they hope to stave off another late-season melt down.
  3. UCLA Bruins– Not many teams are capable of remaining in the top three in their conference after losing so many key players, but UCLA was deep a year ago and added a Top 10 recruiting class to the mix. It’ll be bumpy early, but they’ll earn their stripes.
  4. Oregon State Beavers – The Beavers only lost one key player and added a Top 25 recruiting class. Combining Craig Robinsons coaching prowess and the talented players, the Beavers will turn some heads this year.
  5. Oregon Ducks – Don’t buy into the Ducks being a basement team for two years in a row with the amount of talent they have. Dunigan will have matured, and the Ducks should rebound from a dismal season.
  6. Arizona Wildcats – The ‘Cats won’t likely finish here, but until their freshman and role players step up, they haven’t earned a better slot after losing Budinger and Hill in the off-season. Their Top-15 recruiting class and new coach Sean Miller will provide a huge boost. Look for the ‘Cats to make significant strides throughout the year.
  7. Arizona State Sun Devils – After the departure of Tarden and Pendergraph, the Sun Devils will return to their painful slow-down brand of ball circa 2007. With Glasser still at the helm, the Sun Devils will prove to be a steady, methodical team that can hang around. The lack of a go-to guy leaves the Sun Devils losing a lot of tough games.
  8. Washington State Cougars – Ken Bone will bring in a more up-tempo brand of basketball to Pullman, which can be a good thing. The only problem is that the Cougars lack the horses to make that cart run consistently. The Cougars have talent and will pull out a couple of surprising wins, but don’t look for it consistently.
  9. USC Trojans – After a scandall-ridden off-season, the Trojans lost 4 of 5 starters, their entire recruiting class, and turned to a Kevin O’Neill to replace their defensive guru. That’s going to be too much for the Trojans who field a team that won’t fit the style O’Neill likes to run.
  10. Stanford Cardinal – Johnny Dawkins could prove to be a solid coach if he can ever get a solid 7 or 8 man rotation. In order to do that he has to bring in a quality recruiting class – something he’ll get an opportunity for next year with even more departures on the horizon. It’s going to be a long year, but at least there’s next year.

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